Headlines Like 'The West now has the chance to cripple Vladimir Putin for good' Are Not Helpful
As the war in Ukraine grinds on and Russia steps up its economic war against the west and in particular The European Union, claims made recently by the idiotically 'woke' leaders of Europe's main economic and military powers that the
West has a once-in-a–generation chance to severely weaken Russia’s
capabilities, both militarily and geopolitically, look increasingly hollow. Putin's critics have cited 'Western unity' as one of the main reasons why Russia will be economically destroyed and politically humiliated when the Ukraine's military finally claim victory.
There are three reason that identify this as wishful thinking.
First: leaders of western nations, in pursuit of their idiotic 'net zero' climate change goals, allowed much of northern Europe to become dependent on Russian gas for ther nation's energy needs. Now as these nations keep pushing the EU and NATO to offer more support, (in the form of military hardware,) to Ukraine there is little point in crying 'FOUL' as Russia reduces and threatens to cut off the gas supply.
Second: Propaganda coming out of the USA, London, Paris and Brussels suggests the war has turned Russia into a pariah state, totally isolated in the international community. This is completely untrue. Not only are Russia's traditional allies, China, Iran and Syria still on good terms with the Russians, India, Brazil, Nigeria, Pakistan and Mexico (all nations with huge population numbers,) along with most African, South American and South East Asian nations still have good diplomatic and trading nations with The Kremlin. This infographic shows the idiotic nature of the claim made by one western leader that "The whole world is sanctioning Russia."
Next, we need a strategy for the Black Sea. Given that it is at the core of Russia’s power projection – used to threaten not just Ukraine but Moldova and Georgia – we have been paying surprisingly little attention. Russia’s naval posture has been severely restricted by the steps Turkey took to close the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles . straits to warships. This should remind us of the importance of our relationship with Ankara. To strengthen it would mean to maintain the interests of the free world in that strategically vital area. In time, Turkish cooperation could serve as an enormous disincentive for Russia to engage in any future conflicts in eastern Europe, since the Black Sea has always been a critical element of Russian military calculations in the region.
Third: the sanctions imposed by the west on Russia have backfired and are hitting the nations that imposed them harder than the intended target. The Russian economy is propsering and the Rouble has gained strength in currency markets, contradicting the predictions of economists and experts that it would lose almost all its value and the sanctions would bring Russia to its knees in weeks. Almost six months into the war some Western firms are returning to Russia and splits are emerging within the EU over proposals to impose an energy embargo on Russian oil and gas, although the point of this is hard to understands as Russia is already refusing to sell oil, gas and other essential raw materials to certain EU nations.
Meanwhile Putin is crippling the west economically, I'm not going to waste my time mentioning the fantastical reports from within Ukraine, too many contributors to mainstream media op - ed pages and comment threads only want to read jingoistic demands for escalation of conflict, so having returned not long ago from shopping I'll just mention the local ASDA had not one bottle of Rapeseed, Sunflower or Corn oil on the shelves and none of those rather dubious substances labelled vegetable oil or cooking oil. My helper, whose job includes shopping for other people too, tells me Tesco and Iceland are in the same position. Flour and bread will be the next product line to be hit by shortages.
OK I'm fortunate enough to be able to pay £7.20 for a litre of Extra Virgin Olive Oil but not everyone can, as I know from people involved with the local food bank.
It's easy to indulge in triumphalism about how we are 'crippling Putin,' (we're not BTW - as the world map above shows, counties containing 85% of the global population are not sanctioning Russia and are trading as normal,) but should we not spare a thought for the families and individuals in UK, Europe and America this war is crippling.
The West has crippled itself trying to cripple Russia when all they had to agree 8 months ago was that the Ukraine would not become a member of NATO. China just has to sit back and wait for its two competitors for world power to kill each other off. The US, UK and the EU are no longer open, resilient or even cohesive societies following the social disruption caused by wokeism, the loss of free speech and the free media, and the economic and authoritarian debacles of the COVID and climate 'emergencies' campaigns. These campaigns, fully supported by Western leaders, makes me wonder what and who they are working for.
And finally it is noticeable that amongst all this propaganda about how Ukraine is winning the war, pushing back the incompetent Russian army and giving those nasty bullies in The Kremlin a jolly good thrashing, (punctuated by news occasionally that yet another Ukrainian city or stronghold as fallen,) there is no mention of the elephant in the room.
That The West is going into The Chinese Century with the single most important country outside the US having been driven into the arms of the Chinese. Once again, the trigger happy loons in Washington - who launched this mad war in 2014 - have driven the west off a cliff with another disastrous adventure, following on from Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya/Syria.
Now The West is poorer and weaker, and the Chinese richer and and stronger.
It is the biggest geopolitical own goal of the century.
The US / NATO aim to weaken Russia is not "new". In
2014, it's State Department (Victoria Nuland) is on record plotting to
depose the elected Ukrainian president to support that objective. America and its allies have walked right into this mess with eyes wide open and no amount of misinformation about Russian weakness, Ukrainian bravery and western solidarity behind President Biden, whose dementia seems to have infected all the members of his White House team, is going to get us out. Instead of demonising Putin we need to start negotiating with him and his team.