The loss of lives of soldiers in the Ukraine war is horrific. We don’t know how many are dying, but nobody doubts the number is terrifying high. A recent study gives us a glimpse of what is going on. It shows that 63% of the Ukrainians respond that they have at least one close relative or friend who died, 78% if we include the injured. This is insane. The US, NATO and EU say this should continue for “as long as it takes”. Do they have a good reason for letting this bloodbath continue?
Most of the European and North American left considers itself as guardians of universal rights and values. They are campaigning for sanctions and – if needed – military intervention against countries or “regimes” that are not living up to these universal standards, and they expect their governments, the US, EU and NATO to carry out the necessary punitive measures to enforce the standards. They haven’t noted that this is no longer possible. It is imperial overreach.
After China in December 2022 suddenly changed course from zero-Covid to total termination of all restrictions, all the usual Western China bashers were rejoicing. See, it was a failure! We handled the epidemic the right way, while Xi’s China bungled it! But if we make a comparison of the performance of the leading Western powers with China’s, it is hard to justify this rejoicing.
The war in Ukraine is a Godsend for the US, and the best we can hope for is that it will continue for as long as possible, as it will ruin Russia. This is the opinion of an associate fellow from Chatham House, a think tank closely related to the UK Government, and frequent contributor to NATO related institutions as the Atlantic Council. Unfortunately, he probably reflects the thinking of influential circles in the US, UK and NATO. If that is the case, it may indeed end up being a very long war.
In the UN, Russia has been condemned for its war in Ukraine by an overwhelming majority of nations. Despite this, very few countries outside NATO+ are joining the sanctions against Russia. How come that the Global South is unwilling to support the sanctions? And will it be possible for the US to twist the arms of these unwilling countries to get them to align?
Sometimes you wish you were wrong. In an article on this website around two months before Russia invaded Ukraine, I predicted that war was the most likely outcome, as US and NATO had clearly stated they didn’t accept Russia’s “red line”: the demand that NATO stop its eastward expansion. I asked whether NATO believed the Russians were bluffing, or whether they had decided to throw Ukraine under the bus. Unfortunately, it seems the decision was to sacrifice Ukraine.
A new a multi-polar world is dawning on us. This has implications for all corners of the world, but not least for Europe, the cradle of the two world wars. The dominating powers in Europe are US-lead NATO in the military sphere and EU in the economic and political sphere. According to both, all would be well in Europe had it not been for Russia which is a malign power trying to subdue independent countries, sowing confusion and distrust within the EU and threatening the continent with military invasion. They both need to reconsider and think harder if they are serious about conserving a lasting peace in Europa.
The EU is obviously in trouble as confidence in the Union is dropping in many member countries. Of course there are many explanations, some of these related to the life of the politicians in Brussels, disconnected from the people of their home countries. But unfortunately, the problems go much deeper. EU has simply not been up to the job it was supposed to do and has concentrated on the wrong issues. The drive to enlarge the EU with Turkey and Ukraine may be the last straw to break the camel’s back.
Independently of the outcome of the Paris Climate Change summit, big oil and coal have started an irreversible decline, facing the competition from renewable energies and an increasing political pressure to de-carbonize our societies. This changes completely the game and eliminates the incentive to reduce supply to get higher prices. In stead, the rush is now to exploit the oil and gas before it is too late. Who comes too late, loses. So OPEC has lost its power for good, and there is no chance it will get it back again.