Putin’s personal humiliation at the decline and fall of the Soviet Empire, and his life’s goal of cobbling back together that putrid puzzle-work of backward, totalitarian suzerainties was always the driving force for every move he has made since he murdered and blackmailed his way into power. The UKRAINE/NATO provocation fantasy is nothing more than a (very effective, for some) deflection. Ukraine (“little Russia” as Putin so endearingly names it) was going to be eventually forced to return to Mother Russia’s fold regardless. How the West reacts to this invasion will set the world’s geopolitical destiny for the next decades.
BY ALEXANDER ACKLEY FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CHRONICLES
If we are to believe that Putin and other Russian elites actually entertain the crackpottery of Aleksandr Dugin’s geopolitical determinism as expressed in “The Foundations of Geopolitics” – Ukraine was always going to be invaded, sooner or later.
Here are some quotes:
- The existence of Ukraine within its current borders and with the current status of a “sovereign state” is identical to delivering a monstrous blow to Russia’s geopolitical security, which is tantamount to an invasion of its territory.
- The continued existence of unitary Ukraine is unacceptable. This territory should be divided into several zones corresponding to the gamut of geopolitical and ethnocultural realities.
- The Ukrainian problem is the main and most serious problem facing Moscow. If the problems of the North and the “polar trapezoid” are connected with the distant future of Russia and Eurasia, if the development of Siberia and the battle for Lenaland are important for the near future, if, finally, the positional strategy of reorganizing the Asian South is relevant for Russia, the geopolitics of the West and the center of this geopolitics, the “Ukrainian question”, requires Moscow to respond immediately since it is a matter of delivering Russia a real strategic strike, which the “geographical axis of history” simply does not have the right to respond to.
- Given that the simple integration of Moscow with Kyiv is impossible and will not give a stable geopolitical system, even if this happens despite any objective obstacles, Moscow should be actively involved in the reconstruction of the Ukrainian space according to a unique logical and natural geopolitical model.
There you have it. Putin’s Geopolitical Gospel regarding Russia’s “sphere of influence” in a nutshell.
The pretext, by many Think Tank mandarins, Russophiles, and Putin apologists still pushing a self-blame theory steeped in the American Military Industrial Complex shibboleths about Ukraine and Russia that “… the US/NATO/EU violated their #1 promise issued in the 1990s that it wouldn’t push NATO eastward up to Russia’s borders.” is, thus and in my opinion proven NOT to be the primary reason for this murderous invasion. Ukraine would have NEVER met the metrics to join NATO… and the EU was also a far-away dream… (and now if Ukraine somehow survives this war intact it WILL be brought in – damn the “metrics”) .. so, this is nothing more than a very intellectually-seductive “Red Herring”. Putin’s apologists may claim that he is doing this because NATO/EU (pick your Strawman) “forced” his hand by pushing eastward. The fact is that – regardless of the feckless institutional idiocy and incompetence of these organizations – Putin had planned this from the start of his march into power. Furthermore, I do not give moral equivalency to Russia and those who obtusely argue “what if Russia had offered Canada and Mexico to be in its military sphere?” Did the US occupy, rape, impoverish, and subjugate Canada and Mexico for 70 years?
When you strip everything away, Putin’s personal humiliation at the end of the Soviet Empire, and his life’s goal of cobbling back together that putrid puzzle-work of backward, totalitarian suzerainties was always the driving force for every move he has made since he murdered and blackmailed his way into power. The UKRAINE/NATO provocation fantasy is nothing more than a (very effective, for some) deflection. Ukraine (“little Russia” as Putin so endearingly names it) was going to be eventually forced to return to Mother Russia’s fold regardless. Putin has had his design on Ukraine since he came into power… NATO/EU or not… FACT… he believes in his soul that Ukraine belongs to him and the Russian Empire. *(See also the Budapest Memorandum for further information on how he denuded Ukraine of nukes for this very purpose… Putin is a thug, but he plays 3-D Chess while the West’s “experts” play checkers…)
Furthermore, I just viscerally reject the claim that Ukraine should look at itself as an eternal historical “buffer state”… this view relegates the Ukrainian people to citizens of a Vassal State that are forced to become part of Mother Russia’s “near abroad” and vulnerable to the vicissitudes of a KGB psychopath and his venal oligarchic cronies in the Kremlin and his puppets in neighboring “countries”, or forced to remain “neutral” and live in perpetual fear of offending the Russian Overlords on the other side of the border. The young people of Ukraine reject that completely. So-called “experts” should perhaps look beyond Establishmentarian Realpolitik ideology and actually SPEAK to Ukrainians (as I have) in order to find the Truth beyond the DC Think Tank calculations. I actually have Ukrainian friends, and to a person they want their country to be free and belong to Europe, not to the Russian “sphere”. They look West, not East for their future… and THAT in a nutshell – and not the NATO membership or “mishandling of Russian-speaking Ukrainians” shibboleths – is what drove Putin to this madness… the fact that the vast majority of people in a country that he believes to his core belongs to him and Mother Russia actually want nothing to do with him or his delusional dreams of neo-Tsardom and “re-uniting Mother Russia”, and want to become European, democratic, and want their nation to divorce itself forever from servitude and subservience to the eternally despotic tyrants in distant Moscow.
This conflagration and all of its attendant tragedies and dangers of escalation into nuclear war are the consequences of European members of NATO not taking their own defenses seriously for the last 40 years, and having Green Socialist virtue-signalers instead of hard-nosed professionals in positions of responsibility in the armed forces… as well as the imbecilic idiocy and obvious senility of the present US President and his totally incompetent administration… as well as former German Chancellor Angela Merkel foolishly leading Germany into an insane “energy policy”… and, lastly, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder totally selling himself like a Ruhrgebiet prostitute to Putin for the last 17 years. It is a tragedy. Putin exploits weakness. Europe, NATO, and especially Germany, radiate weakness.
On the other side, Putin has wildly miscalculated the “costs” of his Ukrainian incursion. Russia is now committing war crimes and the feckless international community has awakened from a 3-decade slumber and is horrified and repulsed and nothing will ever be the same. Putin has – regardless of what happens in Ukraine from this point on – destroyed the post-Cold-War World Order and united the West against his country and his ideology. (China’s tyrant Xi is about to do the same… first Hong Kong, and now Taiwan… and will discover that the “costs” of his upcoming invasion are far higher than he ever imagined.) Russia has now cemented itself as a rogue pariah state and its oligarchs and whores and footballers and trashy wannabe Europhiles are now all lepers on the international stage – and its good people will suffer needlessly. Putin may win Ukraine in the short-term, but Russia will lose a lot more in the long-term – trillions in fact. The somnolent Western European views on energy and the military are now shattered and nothing will ever be the same for Russia – the days of French wine and Ukrainian whores and German-made yachts for the Putin oligarchs are done. Putin has awakened the West and destroyed Russia on the international stage. Europe and the USA will once again begin to rely more on their own energy and nuclear and fracking, and the Russian economy will never recover, (and Xi would be wise to see the blunder and avoid confrontation in Taiwan, because, although it will be incredibly destructive for the global economy, if he attacks Formosa, China will also face boycotts and stimulate domestic production of all goods in many countries that had offshored these to China and lose trillions in trade).
The only way out I see for Russia is a putsch against Vlad by his generals or some of his small inner cirlce… getting rid of him and saving what is left of a future for the Russian people. There is no other way out. That is the only way that Russia will have a future. The alternative will be living behind a toxic, closed-off 21st Century version of the Iron Curtain with a rogues’ gallery of tyrannical despot-led, Orwellian Police States like China, Iran, North Korea, and perhaps some African fleapits… the rest of the world will shun Vlad and his Pluto-/Oligarchs for the next decades and Russia will plunge into penury and fade into servitude to China’s hegemonic strategic designs.
Here are the – some counterintuitive – cases being made by some for NOT engaging NATO in this battle… keeping in mind that implicit in these reasons is the fact that Ukraine is totally sacrificed to the Russians:
- Using NATO to escalate a shooting war with Russia – either directly through a no-fly zone or indirectly through a Polish cut-out and NATO “backfill” – is not strength. It’s stupid.
- NATO involvement in Ukraine is a tough-sounding policy designed for domestic political consumption that makes it harder to win this war.
- NATO involvement in Ukraine is the only thing that can save Putin over the long slog of Ukrainian occupation and the forced closing of the Russian economy.
- NATO involvement in Ukraine is the only thing that allows Putin to mobilize Russian public opinion for a wider conflict.
- NATO involvement in Ukraine weakens the alliance and puts Poland and the Baltics more at risk.
- NATO involvement in Ukraine works directly against EU/US interests, short-term and long-term.
- NATO involvement in Ukraine is what can turn this regional tragedy into a global disaster.
The cases for NATO engaging are also compelling… and presented in the corporate media 24/7 since this invasion began. Whoever wins this ideological battle will set the world’s geopolitical destiny for the next decades.
Ultimately, Putin’s promise of a return to Soviet glory days is widely shared and very popular within Russia precisely because it is presented as a costless birthright of the Russian people. Russia can be a Great Power AND you can be rich! That’s the promise. That’s the beating heart of the militarization and Putinization of Russia. The West can destroy that plan. Do you want to make a play for the old Soviet borders? Fine, you get the old Soviet economy. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
The West can win this war without risking a nuclear exchange and without endangering the NATO allies if we fight it on the battlefields where we have enormous advantages – economics and narrative. On the economic battlefield, we continue to weaponize the US dollar and the Euro and the Swiss Franc, and the global payments system. We shut down Russian energy imports and ramp up energy production of the vast reserves available to us. We impoverish the Russian state and the Russian people. Yes, the Russian people, too, not just the oligarchs or Putin’s ‘inner circle’. On the narrative battlefield, we deprive Putin of the power source he craves the most: a visibly combative NATO. We make Putin a liar and we divide the Russian people. You know, like Putin has been trying to do to us.
And we go after China in the same way. Their “free ride” is over. If they think that they can become Putin’s new banker, or make a play for Taiwan, they will suffer the same sanctions as Russia. Furthermore, their near 750,000 students in American and European and Australian universities will be summarily sent back to their Orwellian haunts. Industry and technology will return back to the West. The Chinese economy will be devastated. Will the West plunge into The Greatest Depression? Yes. But we will come out of it before anyone else, and China’s mercantilist economy will have been decimated for a generation. Xi will not risk that if he sees that the West has seen through his putrid double-game and that we will not hesitate to suffer the temporary collateral damage when we shut him and his sycophantic Marxist mandarins down.
Is there a bright line on the European military battlefield? Yes, the borders of our actual NATO allies. That’s it. Not an inch more, but also not an inch less. Do I think that “promised” NATO expansion into Ukraine and Georgia was a strategic mistake for the United States? Yes, I do. Do I think that was the reason for the Ukraine invasion by the Russian fascists? No. Doesn’t matter now. Water under the bridge. Any Russian aggression in, say, Latvia must be met immediately with overwhelming force. And not just in that Latvian theater. Cross the bright line of NATO borders, and everything INCLUDING first nuclear use is fair game.
This is old-fashioned realism for the modern age of network economies and media systems. We play the long game. We win. But many people will suffer in the present… not least the millions of innocent Ukrainians and Russians trapped with enduring the consequences of Putin’s Tsarist Matrix of delusions and empire.