Molotov’s Proposal that the USSR Join NATO

This proposal sheds important light on Russian attempts to cooperate with the West when it came to a comprehensive defense agreement. Thus, Vyacheslav Molotov proposed that the Soviet Union join NATO. The West rejected this proposal because of a lack of “democracy” in the USSR. In other words, the purpose of NATO was to oppose Russia.

It is important to revisit this proposal in the light of the Russophobia that now pervades the psyche of the Western ruling class.

Presidium, CC CPSU

To: Comrade G.M. Malenkov and Comrade N.S. Khrushchev

According to reports from Soviet embassies and missions and in the foreign press, the Soviet draft of a General European Agreement on Collective Security in Europe has provoked positive responses from quite broad public circles abroad, including such French press organs as Le Monde… At the same time, the Soviet draft has, for understandable reasons, provoked a negative reaction from official circles and from supporters of the “European Defense Community” in France, England and other West European countries. It should be noted that official circles in France have also taken measures to mute the Soviet proposal. Among opponents of the European Defense Community there are also those who don’t support the proposal for a General European Agreement. In this regard the main argument advanced against our proposal is the thesis that the Soviet draft is directed at dislodging the USA from Europe so that the USSR can take its place as the dominating power in Europe. Especially broad use of this thesis is being made in France. Meriting attention in this connection is a conversation between our ambassador in Paris, comrade Vinogradov, and the Gaullist leader [Gaston] Palewski, who said the Soviet proposal is unacceptable in its present form because it excludes the USA from participation in the collective security system in Europe. According to Palewski attitudes to the Soviet proposal would change if the Soviet government declared the USA could take part in the system of collective security in Europe in its capacity as an occupying power in Germany, bearing in mind that the occupation of Germany would not last forever. From this statement of Palewski’s it follows that the USA’s participation in the General European Agreement on a system of collective security would be of a temporary character and limited to the period until the conclusion of a peace treaty with Germany.

The thesis of the dislodgement of the USA from Europe is also being used against the Soviet proposal by supporters of the European Defense Community in England and other countries, by official circles that support the plan for the creation of such a “community” and its so-called European army.

Taking this into account, the Foreign Ministry considers it advisable to limit the possibilities of using this argument against the Soviet draft by sending the governments of the USA, England and France a note which states that on its part the Soviet government sees no obstacle to the positive resolution of the question of the USA’s participation in the General European Agreement on Collective Security in Europe. In the Foreign Ministry’s view it would be inadvisable to declare that the participation of the USA would be of a temporary character. In this regard the Foreign Ministry proceeds from that fact that from the point of view of the interests of the struggle against the European Defense Community it would be inexpedient to indicate the temporary character of the USA’s participation in the General European Agreement.

In introducing a proposal for the participation of the USA in the General European Agreement, the Foreign Ministry considers it advisable not to change the previous proposal that the Chinese People’s Republic would participate in the system of collective security in Europe as an observer

It is necessary to consider another argument deployed against the Soviet proposal, namely that it is directed against the North Atlantic Pact and its liquidation. In order to limit the use of this argument against the Soviet proposal the Foreign Ministry considers it advisable that simultaneously with our proposal about the participation of the USA in the General European Agreement we should, in the same note, pose, in an appropriate form, the question of the possibility of the Soviet Union joining the North Atlantic Pact. Raising this question would make things difficult for the organizers of the North Atlantic bloc and would emphasize its supposedly defensive character, so that it would not be directed against the USSR and the people’s democracies.

The simultaneous posing of the possible participation of the USA in the General European Agreement and possibility of the USSR joining the North Atlantic Pact would be advantageous for us because it would be perceived as demanding a concession in return for the USSR’s agreement on the participation of the USA in the General European Agreement… However, the Foreign Ministry’s view is that our agreement on the admittance of the USA into the General European Agreement should not be conditional on the three western powers agreeing to the USSR joining the North Atlantic Pact.

Most likely, the organizers of the North Atlantic bloc will react negatively to this step of the Soviet government and will advance many different objections. In that event the governments of the three powers will have exposed themselves, once again, as the organizers of a military bloc against other states and it would strengthen the position of social forces conducting a struggle against the formation of the European Defense Community. Such a negative attitude toward the initiative of the Soviet government could, of course, have its negative side for us in so far as it affected the prestige of the Soviet Union. Taking this into account, the Foreign Ministry proposes that the Soviet note should not state directly the readiness of the USSR to join the North Atlantic bloc but limit itself to a declaration of its readiness to examine jointly with other interested parties the question of the participation of the USSR in the North Atlantic bloc.

Of course, if the statement of the Soviet government meets with a positive attitude on the part of the three western powers this would signify a great success for the Soviet Union since the USSR joining the North Atlantic Pact under certain conditions would radically change the character of the pact. The USSR joining the North Atlantic Pact simultaneously with the conclusion of a General European Agreement on Collective Security in Europe would also undermine plans for the creation of the European Defense Community and the remilitarization of West Germany.

The Foreign Ministry considers that raising the question of the USSR joining NATO requires, even now, an examination of the consequences that might arise. Bearing in mind that the North Atlantic Pact is directed against the democratic movement in the capitalist countries, if the question of the USSR joining it became a practical proposition, it would be necessary to raise the issue of all participants in the agreement undertaking a commitment (in the form of a joint declaration, for example) on the inadmissibility of interference in the internal affairs of states and respect for the principles of state independence and sovereignty.

In addition the Soviet Union would, in an appropriate form, have to raise the question of American military bases in Europe and the necessity for states to agree to the reduction of military forces, in accordance with the position that would be created after the USSR’s entry into the North Atlantic Pact.

At the present time, however, it will be sufficient, taking into account the above considerations, to include at the end of the note a statement of a general character: “the Soviet Government keeps in mind that the issues arising in connection with this question must be resolved in the interests of strengthening world peace and the security of peoples.”

The draft resolution for the CC of the CPSU is enclosed

I ask you to examine it.V.M. Molotov26 March 1954


This document appears through the kind courtesy of the Digital Archive at the Wilson Center.


European Suicide: The Economic War against Russia

The Goals of the German Federal Government and the Current Situation

The Federal Government dreams of a comprehensive integration of Ukraine into the EU and a prosperous post-war Ukraine. A “confidential memorandum” of the London School of Economics, commissioned jointly by the Foreign and Economic Ministries, envisages a driving private sector run reconstruction backed by active German industrial policy [Luke Cooper, After the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023: Lessons and themes for 2024. Confidential Memo. London School of Economics, 2023]. Technology transfer should play a central role. The state protects the private sector’s risk—investments. The memo provides close cooperation with USAID and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which is close to the leading Social Democratic Party. According to the memo, reconstruction is in the interests of large German companies. So the plan is to set up an extended workbench in Ukraine as a low-wage country. But the dreams of a “new Singapore in Kiev” only show the government coalition in Berlin’s loss of reality [“A Singapore in Kiev”—that was the tenor of a confidential technical discussion at government level in autumn 2023]. Apparently, the external costs for the German taxpayer are not even evaluated.

That is why I want to present the economic consequences of the Ukraine war based on the studies and forecasts known so far. This includes the dimensions of war, the economic situation of Ukraine, the consequences of a possible EU-membership of Ukraine, the sanction’s impact on Russia, its impact on the German economy, the economic and geostrategic reasons for the Ukraine-war, winners and losers of a “European suicide” and the goverment’s options.

1. Dimensions of War

“War is never an isolated act,” wrote Carl von Clausewitz [On War, Book I, Chapter1, 7]. It must be seen in a political context. In addition to the military dimension, there is also the economic war and the propaganda battle.

1.1. Military Dimension

The military and geostrategic dimension refers to operations on the battlefield, i.e., what the British call “theater of war.” This also concerns the situation in Poland, the Baltics, Romania and around the Black Sea. The war in Gaza also interferes with the Ukraine-Russia conflict. This particularly addresses the Washington’s pressure to drag Germany ever deeper into this war. Soon it will probably be said: “Germans to the front!”—as was the case with the Boxer Rebellion in Quingdao (Tsingtau) in 1900. The discussion about the delivery of German “Taurus” cruise missiles is also ongoing. If the Ukrainians, as expected, attack the Kerch Bridge, this could trigger a massive escalation. What Clausewitz could not yet overlook at the beginning of the 19th century was the risk of nuclear confrontation. This is pointed out by US political scientist John J. Mearsheimer [“A Russian victory significantly reduces the threat of nuclear war, as nuclear escalation is most likely when Ukrainian forces achieve battlefield victories and threaten to recapture all or most of the territory Kiev lost to Moscow. The Russian leadership would certainly seriously consider using nuclear weapons to salvage the situation”], as well as experienced military officials, such as the former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr general Harald Kujat [“However, if one of the two sides assesses the situation differently, which is unlikely, such a wrong decision could have catastrophic consequences for the European continent. Because according to the current doctrines, each side would try to avert an impending conventional defeat through the first use of nuclear weapons”].

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told the EU Parliament on September 7, 2023 that Putin had proposed foregoing NATO expansion in exchange for not invading Ukraine. According to Stoltenberg, the Russian President sent NATO a draft treaty in autumn 2021 that NATO should sign:

“The background was that President Putin declared in the autumn of 2021, and actually sent a draft treaty that they wanted NATO to sign, to promise no more NATO enlargement. That was what he sent us. And was a pre-condition for not invade Ukraine. Of course, we didn’t sign that. The opposite happened. He wanted us to sign that promise, never to enlarge NATO. He wanted us to remove our military infrastructure in all Allies that have joined NATO since 1997, meaning half of NATO, all the Central and Eastern Europe, we should remove NATO from that part of our Alliance, introducing some kind of B, or second-class membership. We rejected that. So, he went to war to prevent NATO, more NATO, close to his borders” [Jean Stoltenberg: “Opening remarks” at the joint meeting of the European Parliament’s committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE), followed by an exchange of views with Members of the European Parliament. September 7, 2023].

This means: Firstly, this is not an “unprovoked” war of aggression; NATO provoked him. Secondly, it is a proxy war that is essentially about NATO’s eastward expansion. Jens Stoltenberg said clearly:

“But then there is no other option for us than to ensure peace for NATO Allies, for EU members by investing in defence supporting Ukraine. Because if President Putin wins in Ukraine, it’s a tragedy for the Ukrainians, but it’s also dangerous for us. It sends a message that when they use military force, they get what they want, authoritarian leaders. So it’s in our security interest to support Ukraine, and therefore I’m extremely grateful for all the support that EU members the European Union and NATO Allies are providing to Ukraine.”

Especially after the peace talks in March and April 2022 in Istanbul, there is no longer any trust in Western politics in the Kremlin. To this day, the mainstream press in Germany denies that these negotiations took place. But you only had to read the US magazine “Foreign Affairs”. In September 2022, the magazine published an article co-authored by Fiona Hill. As a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, a former member of the National Security Council and as an advisor to three US presidents, Fiona Hill wrote:

“According to several former senior U.S. officials we spoke with, in April 2022, Russian and Ukrainian negotiators appeared to have tentatively agreed on the broad outlines of a negotiated interim solution: Russia would retreat to its February 23 position, when it controlled part of the Donbass region and all of Crimea, and in return Ukraine would promise not to seek NATO membership and instead receive security guarantees from a number of countries.”

Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who was also involved in the peace talks, commented: “But in the end nothing happened. My impression was: Nothing could happen because everything else had been decided in Washington.”

The West has prevented an agreement already initialed. This is simply what research shows. There are at least six different sources independent from each other for such an agreement ready to be signed, five of which were directly involved in the negotiation process. Member of the Kiev delegation, Aleksander Tschaly, also confirmed that an Istanbul communiqué on a peaceful settlement of the conflict had been initialed. International experts agree that, contrary to what US President Joe Biden promised, Ukraine is now in a significantly worse negotiating position. Kiev lost more territory than it regained during the so-called summer offensive.

In December 2023, Russian troops were advancing along the entire front: They captured the Mariinka fortress in front of Donetsk. Avdiivka northwest of Donetsk was surrounded. Bakhmut was conquered. In the north they were advancing on Slavyansk. However, a strategic initiative does not succeed. At the turn of 2023/24, Russia controlled around 18% of Ukrainian territory. Moscow is preparing for a long war. President Putin is firmly in the saddle and even stronger than ever, politically and militarily. A coup in Russia is not expected. The Kremlin’s goal remains “demilitarization,” “denazification” and “neutralization,” i.e., regime change in Kiev. Security Council Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said, Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Mykolaev and Kiev were “Russian cities” Dmitry Medvedem on 28.12.2023: “1. Спецоперация продолжится, её целью останется разоружение украинских войск и отказ нынешнего украинского государства от идеологии неонацизма… Одесса, Днепропетровск, Харьков, Николаев, Киев – русские города, как и многие другие временно оккупированные. Все они пока ещё маркированы жёлто-голубым на бумажных картах и в электронных планшетах (“1. The special operation will continue, its goal will remain the disarmament of Ukrainian troops and the rejection of the current Ukrainian state from the ideology of neo-Nazism… 3. Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Nikolaev, Kyiv are Russian cities, like many other temporarily occupied ones. All of them are still marked in yellow-blue on paper maps and on electronic tablets”). Further war aims and territorial claims can be derived from this. Russia’s plan is to reach a comprehensive agreement with the West or to advance further towards the stated goals.

Ukraine controls the western part of the Black Sea and has secured a trade route through the Bosphorus. But the summer offensive collapsed. In Washington, wrote the Swiss military analyst Jacques Baud, this was clear from the very first moment. According to Baud, the entire war was never about success for Ukraine, but about weakening Russia in a battle of attrition.

In fact, Russia is waging a proxy war against NATO, which NATO is in danger of losing. Seymour Hersh quotes a senior US intelligence official:

The war is over. Russia has won. There is no Ukrainian offensive anymore, but the White House and the American media have to keep the lie going. The truth is if the Ukrainian army is ordered to continue the offensive, the army would mutiny. The soldiers aren’t willing to die any more, but this doesn’t fit the B.S. that is being authored by the Biden White House.

Nevertheless, no relent is expected in Washington. The military confrontation continues. The war has become a battle of attrition. The West is at war with Russia. The West pushed Ukraine to keep fighting. The conflict serves primarily the interests of the United States. Neither side will give in: Moscow sees NATO membership for Ukraine as an existential threat. Washington is committed to NATO membership for Ukraine, the reconquest of Russian-occupied territories and the goal of regime change in Moscow. Russian literature argues that the West is providing Ukraine with “strategic depth” through arms supplies, satellite data, training and financial aid. Dmitri Trenin, Member of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy:

In fact, Ukraine plays the role of a spearhead with which the West wants to hit, weaken and, if successful, destroy Russia and destroy it in its current form. The current conflict has the potential for a direct armed conflict up to and including nuclear escalation. (Фактически Украина выполняет роль острия копья, которым Запад стремится поразить, ослабить, а если удастся – уничтожить Россию в её нынешнем виде. В отличие от прошлых времён – включая периоды Наполеоновских и двух мировых войн – Запад сейчас политически и идеологически выступает как единое целое. Россия и современный Запад – антагонисты. Нынешний конфликт чреват непосредственным вооружённым столкновением, вплоть до ядерной эскалации).

This de facto means that a compromise is impossible. But this war of attrition is not a stalemate. Russia clearly has the advantage on the war theatre and in the economic war. NATO lead Ukraine to defeat, and the West is trapped by its own involvement: underestimating the opponent is the best recipe for losing.

1.2. Propaganda War

The propaganda war is part of psychological warfare: NATO calls it “cognitive warfare”: “While actions are carried out in the five military domains (land, sea, air, space and cyber) in order to affect people, Cognitive warfare aims to use every human being as a weapon.” The goal is to exploit the weak points of the human brain and, through deep indoctrination, manipulate the human psyche in a way to make it “war-ready” and immunize it against rational considerations. The mainstream media plays a central role in this.

They demonize Putin, talk about “unprovoked” war of aggression and accuse Russia of being solely responsible for the war, discredit dissenting opinions and follow state propaganda. “The causes of the distorted representation of reality,” said the former Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, General Harald Kujat, “are the unreflective adoption of disinformation and, above all, incompetence and ideological delusion.” There is indeed a journalistic underground in a landscape of mendacious conformity [“An underground of journalism exists… in a landscape of mendacious conformity. Dissenting journalists have been defenestrated from the ‘mainstream’… the media’s task is to invert the truth and support the illusions of democracy, including ‘free press” (the late John Pilger)]. But the representatives of grass-roots media are mostly excluded. The job of the mainstream media is to distort the truth and maintain the illusion of democracy, a free press—and the Illusion of Ukraine’s potential victory.

The syncrisis of German journalism with NATO’s war propaganda is disconcerting, not only in view of the primitiveness of deep indoctrination and its postfactual structure, but even more due to the blind submission to its intolerant claim to exclusivity [“At its summit in Madrid in June, Nato, which is controlled by the United States, adopted a strategy document that militarises the European continent, and escalates the prospect of war with Russia and China. It proposes multi domain warfighting against nuclear-armed peer-competitor. In other words, nuclear war. It says: ‘Nato enlargement has been a historic success.’ I read that in disbelief. A measure of this ‘historic success’ is the war in Ukraine, news of which is mostly not news, but a one-sided litany of jingoism, distortion, omission. I have reported a number of wars and have never known such blanket propaganda.” John Pilger].

But this only shows the degree of self-alignment that extends from talk show hosts to media managers, from radio station directors to desk editors, from foreign correspondents to daily news reporters. By foregoing sober research and rational reasoning, they only differ from other academic henchmen of the elites by their aggressiveness. They only develop a falsifying killer instinct when they outlaw dissent. This exposes the media maker’s indignity. Both the public media and the corporate media are becoming, as the novelist Günter Grass once put it, “court jesters taking into account non-existent courts” (“Princeton-Rede,” p. 112)—the court jesters of NATO. The mainstream media lies by omission, shifts the population’s aggression about social grievances onto external enemies and thus sends people into war hysteria. They have become the central warmonger. [Mark Galliker, Patrik Baab and here, Roberto J. De Lapuente].

However, the propaganda media can only develop their effectiveness in cooperation with other ideological apparatuses. Because state apparatuses are not neutral, but rather ensure the conditions of capital’s reproduction. So they don’t protect people from the market, but the market from people. Like the repressive state apparatuses—judiciary, military and police—ideological state apparatuses such as schools, universities, NGOs, churches and media (even if they are organized privately or under public law) ensure that citizens are loyal to the state and to the market capitalist social order [Louis Althusser, “Idéologie et appareils idéologiques d’État.” La Pensée, No. 151, June 1970; also, Louis Althusser, Positions (Paris. Les Éditions sociales, 1976), pp. 67-125]. They function like communicating tubes.

In addition, the EU Commission is tightening censorship with the so-called “Media Freedom Act”. It actually takes over media supervision, although this is the responsibility of the member states. The EU Commission is already exercising censorship with the “Digital Services Act” and the “Code of Conduct to Combat Disinformation” from June 2022. Online platforms such as Meta, Google, Twitter, TikTok and Microsoft as well as many other players have joined in. They committed to mark providers who, in the Commission’s opinion, spread disinformation as unreliable, to block advertising revenue and to report this to the Commission. Such information must be deleted upon instruction from the Commission. This is the privatization of censorship.

1.3. Economic War

The third area is the economic war the USA, NATO and the EU have been waging against Russia since 2014. This includes the situation in Ukraine, the effects on Russia, the backfire effects in the EU and the particular impact on Germany.

2. The Economic Situation of Ukraine

The biggest loser of the war is Ukraine. The population has fallen from 52 million to 31 million since 1991. The war damage is immense. The population impoverished. The average wage has fallen from around 400 euros to 200 euros in 30 years as a result of Western integration. The West fights Russia at the expense of Ukraine.

Ukrainian losses are high. The sources now speak of a total of up to 500,000 men, which Stoltenberg did not deny in the European Parliament. A Ukrainian mobile phone provider has extrapolated from various estimates and information about deleted SIM cards that up to 400,000 Ukrainian soldiers may have already died. Deputy Chairwoman of the Rada’s Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, Maryana Bezuhla, said that a Ukrainian soldier was wounded or killed every five minutes. That would correspond to a quota of 288 per day or 8640 per month. By December 2023, this would bring the total to 210,000 men in just over 22 months of war. These are clues; both sides keep the actual number of losses secret.

In July 2022, at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Lugano, Switzerland, Ukraine estimated the cost of reconstruction at 750 billion euros. How high the actual amount will be is unclear because the war is going on.
Ukraine has three economic regions that converged in poverty before the start of the war, but also showed extreme divergence: the Rust Belt region in the center and the east, where industrial production fell sharply after the collapse of the Soviet Union and average wages fell by 80% compared to 1990. The service region in Kiev and Kharkiv, where a modern financial and digital sector developed, and in the south a strong sector with transport and logistic services from the Dnipro and to the Black Sea and to Sevastopol in Crimea. Then the agricultural regions in the industrially underdeveloped center with the fertile black earth soil.

Even during Soviet times, Ukraine played an important role in titanium and uranium. The manganese and iron ore reserves are among the largest in the world, as are the mercury ore deposits. This is also important for the EU:

In order to become independent of imports from Russia, shale gas is also important, especially as a transition technology and for future special applications such as fertilizer production. The importance of titanium is particularly noteworthy: currently Ukraine is one of five countries in the world producing titanium ore mineral concentrates (ilmenite5 and rutile6). More than 30 titanium deposits, some in production and some explored in detail, are located on the territory of Ukraine.

In terms of agricultural potential, Ukraine is one of the richest countries in the world and one of the leading producers and exporters. Ukraine’s arable land is three times larger than that of Poland and Romania. In 2021, it covered a total of 32.9 million hectares and in 2023, an estimated 27.9 million hectares due to the consequences of the war.

The industrial potential is also great, there are a number of specialized industries, e.g. for rocket engines and high-performance turbines. As a steel producer, Ukraine had plants such as Azov and Ilyich in Mariupol, Zaporizhstal in Zaporizhia, Kryvorizhstal in Dnipropetrovsk, Dneprospetstal in the Dnipro region, Khartsyzsk Pipe Plant in Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk Metal Plant in Dnipro, Yenakiieve Metallurgical Plant in the Donetsk Region, Nikopol Pipe Plant LLC in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Avdiiv Coke chemical plant near Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk Metallurgical Combine in the Dnipro region and is an important world player.

Ukraine’s well-developed pipeline infrastructure is also suitable for transporting hydrogen and could be used in the future to supply customers within the country and the EU. The power grid is highly integrated and has provided many workarounds for destroyed connections during Russian attacks. From the Soviet era, Ukraine has inherited an efficient energy system with nuclear power plants, thermal power plants and hydroelectric power plants, which, however, needs to be modernized. The nuclear power plants are Soviet-design pressurized water reactors in Rivne (four units commissioned in 1980, 1981, 1896 and 2004), Khmelnitsk (2 units in 1987 and 2004), southern Ukraine (3 units, 1982, 1985 and 1989) and Zaporizhia ( 6 blocks, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989 and 1995). Nuclear power supplies about half of the electricity. Thermal and hydroelectric power plants also play an important role. In order to achieve its sustainability goals, Ukraine needs foreign investments, especially in solar panels and wind turbines.

Ukraine has the world’s largest reserves of commercially viable iron ore—30 billion tons, which is a fifth of the world total. There are also large natural gas and oil deposits that are still largely undeveloped, and 4 percent of the world’s coal reserves.

The World Bank has examined the events of the first year of the war and said that the Russian invasion “has taken an unimaginable toll on the people of Ukraine and the country’s economy, whose activity fell by a staggering 29.2% in 2022.” They estimates that damages exceed $135 billion and that about $411 billion will be needed to rebuild Ukraine. The poverty rate “rose from 5.5% in 2021 to 24.1% in 2022, pushing 7.1 million more people into poverty and undoing 15 years of progress.” 62 cities were destroyed, approximately 8 million Ukrainians have fled the country, and there are around 7 million internally displaced people. The United Nations confirmed 8,490 civilian deaths but believes the actual number is “significantly higher.”

In the end, Ukraine will be divided. The Russian-occupied territories are not returning. Where exactly the demarcation line will run is unclear. The Russians try to advance further either to Odessa or northeast of the Dnieper. Russian troops are unlikely to reach the Curzon Line according to the Treaty of Versailles, which was confirmed with some corrections as the Polish-Soviet demarcation line of the Peace of Riga in 1921. It lies well west of Kiev and, after the Yalta Conference, represents today’s eastern border of Poland. The Curzon Line ran well west of Kiev.

Clearing the minefields and cluster munitions alone is likely to cost billions. The LSE also estimates the cost of reconstruction at $411 billion, which is 2.5 times higher than the country’s gross national product. Instead, Ukraine’s resources are likely to be withdrawn from the public sector and privatized. With the entry of Blackrock as a debt and reconstruction manager, the country is de facto falling into the hands of a locust.

Exiled Ukrainian opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk describes Ukraine as “a European Somalia.” The country is on a list of the most dangerous places in the world. He pointed to forced conscriptions, the destruction of monuments linked to Russia, the media’s aggressive anti-Russian rhetoric, the torture: “All of this happened at the behest of the West, and billions were spent on it, which Western politicians openly admitted.”

3. Consequences of Admitting Ukraine into the EU

In 2023, Ukraine received more than 38 billion euros in international financial aid. This was the only way the country could survive financially and bear the costs of the war—around 120 million euros per day. Nevertheless, the West is divided on the question of further aid. Larger aid packages have been temporarily blocked by Hungary in the EU and by Republicans in the US Congress. That is why Washington is putting increasing pressure on Western countries to seize Russia’s foreign assets of around $300 billion to Ukraine. Moscow has already announced that it will also confiscate foreign, including German, assets in Russia in this case. This would alleviate the West’s financing problems in supporting Ukraine, but would likely come primarily at the expense of EU countries. In Russia, such a seizure is described as “theft,” which will further erode trust in the West and thus “further stimulate the process of de-dollarization and de-Westernization of the planet.” The USA, “which has not succeeded in bringing most of the world under its control,” is prepared to “sacrifice Europe to save itself.” [При этом данные 300 миллиардов во многом виртуальны, а в реальности заполучить удастся куда меньшие суммы. Зато можно быть уверенным в том, что конфискация только подстегнет процесс дедолларизации и девестернизации планеты, поскольку от Запада начнут отгребать еще энергичнее все страны, которые имеют хоть минимальный выбор… Правда, возникает вопрос: а неужто официальные лица в Вашингтоне, Берлине, Париже, Брюсселе и далее по списку не понимают всех этих очевидных обстоятельств? Есть подозрение, что понимают, но в складывающихся обстоятельствах считают это наилучшим из наихудших решений. Во-первых, ухудшающееся экономическое положение вынуждает Запад искать любые возможные источники финансирования, например, Киева. Конфискованные российские активы, до которых удастся реально дотянуться, дадут возможность закрыть данную статью расходов на год-другой. (At the same time, the 300 billion is largely virtual, and in reality it will be possible to get much smaller sums. But we can be sure that confiscation will only spur the process of de-dollarization and de-westernization of the planet, as all countries that have at least a minimal choice will begin to shovel even more vigorously from the West… However, the question arises: do officials in Washington, Berlin, Paris, Brussels and further down the list not understand all these obvious circumstances? It is suspected that they do, but in the current circumstances they consider this to be the best of the worst solutions. First, the deteriorating economic situation is forcing the West to look for any possible sources of funding for Kiev. Confiscated Russian assets, which can be realistically grabbed, will make it possible to cover this item of expenditure for a year or two), Irina Alksnis].

In Brussels’ EU administration, financial aid for Ukraine totaling 77.1 billion euros had been accumulated since January 24, 2022. There is also humanitarian aid worth 2.1 billion euros and military support worth 5.6 billion euros. Over the course of 2023, the willingness to continue for helping Ukraine to the same extent as before began to crumble. Slovakia announced that it would stop arms deliveries, and there were protests in Poland because Ukrainian grain and Ukrainian drivers were entering the market at low wages. Hungary temporarily refused to release the next 50 billion euros for Ukraine.

After the failed summer offensive, Kiev should now be kept happy with the official prospect of joining the EU. But this is likely to cost the EU dearly. The German Economic Institute (IW) assumes that Ukraine would receive extensive financial resources from the EU budget. The institute estimates the financial impact of Ukraine’s full membership in the EU on the EU’s current multi-year budget at around 130 to 190 billion euros. Of this, between 70 and 90 billion euros would go to agricultural subsidies and between 50 to 90 billion euros to cohesion policy. For comparison: The EU’s multi-year community budget for the years 2021-2027 amounts to 1,216 billion euros. The scientists comment:

Given this volume, the EU should be ready to reform. Only in this way can the political decision be credible to bind Ukraine more closely to itself with the prospect of accession. This applies on the one hand at the institutional level, but it also applies at the fiscal level. A shift in the EU budget could help provide the necessary financial resources.

Cohesion policy assumes that redistribution should take place between richer and poorer EU countries. The Cologne economists propose to concentrate resources on poorer countries. Then around 140 billion euros would be available for Ukraine over a seven-year period. If you add cohesion and agricultural subsidies, then Ukraine would be entitled to an amount of 127-187 billion euros based on the multi-year budget 2021-2027. This cannot be done without reallocating or increasing the budget. The richer states would either have to pay more or forego benefits.

If the EU is expanded to include Ukraine, there is a risk of massive social cuts, large-scale farmers dying and massive downward pressure on wages in all EU countries. As a result, it is possible that the EU will collapse. French MPs have already warned that it would be best to leave the EU as quickly as possible. The British say: “The EU will last as long as the Germans pay.” The majority of the war burden and the costs of reconstruction will end up with the German taxpayer. The federal government has not evaluated this either.

In East Saxony’s Pirna there are 12 huge, new granaries. Grain from Poland and Ukraine is delivered there by truck. From Pirna, deliveries are sent by train to the processing industry in Hamburg and other places. This shows the problem. If Ukraine joins the EU and the customs barriers fall, the European market will be flooded with cheap Ukrainian agricultural products. Comparatively low labor costs, the fertile black earth soil and the opening of the Ukrainian market for genetically modified seeds as well as large-scale industrial production by companies such as Monsanto, Elli Lilly, Cargill and John Deere enable an unrivaled range of agricultural products. The land grab by foreign corporations in Ukraine means that farmers across the EU are coming under pressure because they can no longer produce at market prices. This will lead to further concentration in agriculture and farms dying out.

The Polish Minister of Agriculture Robert Telus imposed an import ban on Ukrainian grain from September 15, 2023, thereby entering into a dispute with the EU: “Ukrainian agriculture represents a threat to the agriculture of neighboring countries, but also to the whole of Europe.” He points out that Ukraine increased its overland grain exports from 7.3 million tons to 9.6 million tons during the embargo. Kiev defends the interests of large domestic companies. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán indicated what these are. He explained that the blocked Ukrainian grain was actually more likely to be a US commercial product, because the land on which it is grown “has probably been in the hands of the USA for a long time. Ukrainian agricultural products destined for Africa are flooding Central European markets. The bureaucrats in Brussels are once again turning a blind eye to the problems of local farmers.” US agricultural companies such as Monsanto have invested heavily in Ukrainian black earth soil. On the most fertile soil in the world, they can produce at unrivaled prices using genetically modified seeds and cheap labor. Economist Ernst Wolff: “We are currently experiencing a frontal attack on German medium-sized businesses.” Behind these agricultural giants such as Monsanto, John Deere and Elli Lilly are large financial investors such as Blackrock, that are also invested in the arms industry. They make money both from the war and the deaths of farmers.

Ukraine is not expected to join the EU in the short term. But Washington is increasing pressure for passing the costs of the war can on to the Union. Then Europe will collapse into a collection of failed states—a kind of co-transformation as a consequence of the Ukraine war. An impoverishment of the entire EU and harsh social cuts will follow. A break-up of the EU cannot be ruled out. Europe is becoming not only Washington’s backyard, but also Moscow’s backyard. This shows that US imperialism is a dead end for Europe.

4. The Effect of Sanctions on Russia

In response to the war of aggression against Ukraine, which violates international law, the EU has imposed unprecedented sanctions. They complement the existing measures that have been initiated since 2014 due to the accession of Crimea to the Russian Federation. So far twelve packages include sanctions against individuals, economic sanctions and visa measures. They apply to 1,950 institutions and people, including President Putin, Foreign Minister Lavrov, commanders of the Wagner Group, oligarchs, officials, military personnel and “anti-Ukrainian propagandists,” as well as banks, companies and parties. The economic sanctions affect, among other things, exports of advanced technology, vehicles, the energy sector and goods that can also be used for military purposes, as well as imports into the EU of petroleum products, coal, steel, gold and diamonds. Services such as auditing, IT consulting, legal advice, software and engineering services may no longer be provided. The oil import stop applies to sea routes with exceptions and affects 90% of Russian deliveries. A cap on oil prices was set at $60 per barrel. Transport by EU ships is prohibited. By the end of 2023, 12 sanctions packages were in force.

Even before the invasion, there were 2,695 sanctions against Russian private individuals, companies or state bodies. Since February 22, 2022, 12,077 new punitive measures have been added. The most serious factors were certainly the exclusion of Russian banks from the global financial communications system SWIFT and the confiscation of Russian assets worth around $300 billion. But the sanctions create the breeding ground on which alternative structures for circumvention emerge. By the end of 2022, the German government had no information about the effect of the sanctions. The effect of the first eleven sanctions packages has apparently evaporated: The Financial Times reports that almost no Russian oil is sold below the price cap of 60 USD, but world market prices of more than 80 USD are paid for it. Oil and gas revenues account for more than 28% of Russian state revenue.

Russia has now expanded its transport capacities. A large proportion of oil and gas is now transported via the northern route, even in winter. Russia is the only country to have two nuclear-powered icebreakers. The loading capacities in the ports of Primorsk, Vysotsk and Petersburg are utilized. A new gas liquefaction plant is currently being built in the westernmost Russian Baltic Sea port of Ust-Luga.

Industrial warfare, according to former director of the Royal United Services Institute Michael Clarke, is a war between societies. The Russian military budget, he estimates, has tripled since 2021 and will amount to around 30% of government spending in 2024. Russia has proven to be surprisingly weak militarily, but significantly stronger economically than the West expected. [“Because it’s true, the Third World War has begun. True, it started ‘small’ and with two surprises. We went into this war with the idea that Russia’s army was very powerful and its economy very weak. We thought that Ukraine would be crushed militarily and that Russia would be crushed economically by the West. But the opposite happened. Ukraine was not crushed militarily, even though it had lost 16% of its territory by then; Russia was not crushed economically. As I speak, the rouble has gained 8% against the dollar and 18% since the start of the war.” Emmanuel Todd].

The sanctions against Russia have so far largely failed to have any effect. Russia has prepared itself for a war of attrition that will last for years. Moscow wants to advance slowly and exhaust Ukraine in order to dash the West’s hopes of a Ukrainian victory. Putin is still seeking a fundamental security agreement with the West.

At first, the West’s calculations seemed to work: the ruble was in free fall and the stock market practically came to a standstill. However, after initial losses of more than 40% of its value, the Russian currency recovered and reached higher values than before the beginning of the war. In 2022, Russian economy contracted by 2.2%; in January 2024, the IMF forecast growth for 2024 of 2.4%. According to an economic survey by the Russian Central Bank, the average growth forecast for 2023 was 3.1%. Analysts only expected 1.3% for 2024.

Nevertheless, according to a study of the Canadian Central Bank, the standard of living in Russia is falling. However, the analysis shows that these welfare losses are significantly mitigated and the boomerang effects on the sanctioning countries are intensified when third countries such as China, India and Turkey do not play along. These countries benefit: “Our welfare analysis demonstrates that the sanctioned country’s welfare losses are significantly mitigated, and the sanctioning country’s losses are amplified, if the third country does not join the sanctions, but the third country benefits from not joining” (Ghironi, et al.). Therefore, the West can only hope that the measures will have a long-term effect: that there is a lack of investment from abroad and the capital flight from Russia continues. But at best this will slow the growth of the Russian economy.

The sanctions were aimed at cutting off Russia from the international financial system and depriving the country of hundreds of billions in foreign exchange assets in order to make foreign trade impossible for Moscow. But there was an almost complete de-dollarization of Russian trade. Moscow switched to paying in the local currencies of its international partners, primarily China and India. In this way, Russian industry was able to maintain its production level in the first ten months of 2022 and recorded growth in November and December. Even stronger growth is expected for 2023. Nobody would have expected Russia to surpass Germany and Great Britain in economic growth. The sanctions have made Russia the strongest European economy.

Russia is an energy self-sufficient country and has many of the world’s most important raw materials such as oil and natural gas. Moscow also has a dominant position on world markets and is the leading exporter of fertilizers and food. Despite Western sanctions, 80% of the planet is expanding its cooperation with Russia. Giants like China and India are increasing Russian energy imports. The European Council on Foreign Relations found in a study: The West is united but separated from the rest of the world.

There is always talk in the West that Russia has not set up its own microchip production and is dependent on Western and Asian imports for microelectronics. But the West’s sanctions are not effective here either: The import volume of CNC (computer numerical control) machines from China, which are also used in the military sector, has increased tenfold—Customs declarations increased by 6.5 million US dollars in February 2022 to $68 million in July 2023. Chinese machines replaced European imports.

In fact, eyewitnesses report that truckloads of digital technology from China and Taiwan are being imported to the Russian-Kazakh border—from Polish and Lithuanian trucking companies. But with microchips the dependency is mutual. The West has the know-how, but not the necessary raw materials. For example, according to a survey by market research group Techcet, the US must import 90% of semiconductor-grade neon from Ukraine, while 35% of the palladium it needs comes from Russia. This means that the US chip industry is dependent on materials from Russia and Ukraine. So Russia can put as much pressure on the American semiconductor industry as the other way around. That is why Washington is investing in diversifying supply chains and Russia is investing in expanding manufacturing:

The US government has warned domestic chipmakers that they could face a materials supply crunch, reports Reuters, citing “people familiar with the matter.” The warning is based on worries about the potential for conflict between Russia and Ukraine. If Russia does make military advances, there will almost certainly be impacts on industries in Ukraine. Moreover, US sanctions will be implemented on Russia, likely exacerbating supply issues. Some concerning numbers, highlighting the reliance of the US chipmaking industry on Russia/Ukraine-based materials, are shared by the source. For example, market research group Techcet says that 90% of US semiconductor-grade neon supplies come from Ukraine, while 35% of US palladium is sourced from Russia. In addition, other vital materials like C4F6, Helium, and Scandium also come from the flashpoint region… For the potential scale of resource material price increases facing chipmakers, we only need to turn our clocks back to 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. At that time, neon prices rose nearly 600%. Neon is used in semiconductor fabricating machine lasers (Mark Tyson, and also Semiconductors and Changing face of war).

Russia knows, according to French historian Emmanuel Todd, that World War III has already begun. As the military analyst Jacques Baud rightly points out, there has been a sophisticated philosophy of war in Russia since Soviet times, which also includes economic and political considerations. That is why the sanctions against Russia since 2014 have had a double effect. First, the Kremlin realized that this would not be a short-term problem, but a long-term opportunity. They encouraged Russia to increasingly produce previously imported goods itself. Second, it became clear to Moscow that the West would increasingly use economic weapons to set the country under pressure. So Russia had to strengthen its economic self-sufficiency:

This is why the sanctions applied to Russia in 2014 had a double positive effect. The first was the realization that they were not only a short-term problem, but above all a medium- and long-term opportunity. They encouraged Russia to produce goods it had previously preferred to buy ubroad. The second was the signal that the West would increasingly use economic weapons as a means of pressure in the future. It therefore became imperative, for reasons of national independence and sovereignty, to prepare for more far-reaching sanctions affecting the county’s economy (Jacques Baud).

Russia is far from emerging from this war weakened. On the contrary, it appears to be strengthened militarily and economically. General Christopher Cavoli, the US Supreme Commander in Europe (SACEUR), told a US Congressional committee: “Russia’s air, naval, space, digital and strategic capabilities have not suffered significant degradation during this war” (General Christopher Cavoli).

Russia is strategically turning away from Europe. This means that a city like St. Petersburg loses its historical function. An intellectual opposition to this is forming in the metropolitan areas. The country lacks foreign investment and a broader digital economy, meaning future economic development is severely slowed. Ukraine expert Nikolai N. Petro from Staten Island University summarizes:

So, for the West, we can see clearly, that they under-estimated, they really didn’t understand what Russia had achieved at all… The Russian leadership, they were surprised when their efforts to support the Ruble and to engage in import substitution succeeded so quickly. They thought it would work, they had done some preliminary testings, but they didn’t expect that there may be so much speed and flexibility in the Russian economy to switch from old producers to new producers, first of all. And secondly, particularly the willingness of so many non-state actors, in some cases state actors like Iran and China, and North Korea, and Venezuela, but also non-state actors to skirt the impact of sanctions. And so as a result, the West got into, what is essentially a “losing game” (Nikolai N. Petro).

Russia was not “destroyed by sanctions,” as US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen promised. Instead, the country’s economy has grown. The Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, General Valery Zalushny, even stated that the capabilities of the Russian military industry are increasing, despite the introduction of unprecedented sanctions. There is no uprising against the war in Russia, Putin’s popularity is not declining, and Russia is far from diplomatically isolated, as shown by the weak response to boycott calls and the growing interest in Russian-favored organizations such as BRICS.

5. The Impact on the German Economy

In the end, the West will have to pay the price of the war it provoked. But there is an important limitation. In April and May 2022, the US Senate and House of Representatives passed the so-called “Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022”. This new version of the 1941 Lend-Lease Agreement authorizes the President to expeditiously comply with all requests for all existing U.S. equipment from Ukraine and Ukraine’s NATO states. Returns or payments due will not be an issue for another five years. But then most of the weapons will be destroyed. In doing so, Washington has driven Ukraine into a long-term debt trap worth double-digit billions, from which it can hardly escape on its own. The European Union will foot the bill. Ukraine, which is already effectively bankrupt, has been kept afloat financially by the EU and the International Monetary Fund since the 2014 Maidan coup.

For the United States, this arms aid is a bomb deal in the long term. Already after the Maidan, the United States did not transfer its own money, but instead issued bank guarantees. These secured loans amounted to 113 billion euros in 2022 and 2023. This means that the USA does not have to pay a cent as long as Ukraine can service the loans it received from banks, especially from the IMF, on the basis of US guarantees. This money, in turn, came from the EU, either in the form of loans or in the form of economic aid, which Ukraine does not have to pay back. The IMF loans were subject to strict conditions. It was also about the privatization of state property—i.e., the selling off of silverware, e.g. mining rights or black earth soil. US companies have benefited from this. The principle, according to Thomas Röper: “The USA gives guarantees, the US companies earn money and the EU pays the bill.”

The EU and its member states have pledged a total of around 135 billion euros in short and medium-term aid for Ukraine from the start of the war to the end of July 2023, and the USA has pledged almost 70 billion euros. This shows that Washington has increasingly succeeded in holding the EU accountable. When it comes to bilateral aid, Germany is now the second largest supporter of Ukraine after the United States: from the start of the war until the end of October 2023, the United States provided 71.4 billion euros, followed by Germany with a total of 38.3 billion euros including investments on EU aid.

In addition, the EU states also deliver weapons to Ukraine, which they have to replace. A large portion of these orders go to the US defense industry. Orders from US defense companies doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year. In 2021, the US government approved a total of 14 major arms sales to NATO countries worth a total of $15.5 billion. By the end of 2022, there were 24 approved exports worth $28 billion. In short, one could say: the losses are socialized and Germanized, the profits are privatized and Americanized.

With the adoption of the 2 percent target, all NATO states must increase their defense spending to two percent of GDP by 2024. For Germany, this means defense spending of around 80 billion euros, almost 30 billion euros more than in 2023. In addition, the federal government has taken out a “special fund” of loans worth 100 billion euros, which is to be spent on armaments purposes. A large part of this money goes to the US defense industry, e.g., for the overpriced F-35 breakdown jet.

In the medium term, the USA will shift the burden of the war and reconstruction onto the EU. The costs of the Ukraine war are gigantic. Jens Berger from the online-magazine Nachdenkseiten puts the total costs of German war policy in May 2023 at 577.4 billion euros. By the middle of the year, every German household was burdened with the war to the tune of 14,000 euros. Further social cuts are pending. At the cabinet meeting in December 2023, savings of 200 million euros in the education sector and 800 million euros in civil international engagement as well as tax increases were decided to cover the “unexpectedly” budget gap of 30 billion euros. At the same time, the military aid for Ukraine amounting to 8 billion euros should remain untouched and be increased, if necessary.

In 2023, the Federal Republic of Germany was the worst-performing industrialized country in the world. Both the IMF and the EU expect its economy to continue to shrink. Economists see Germany in a downward spiral: “Germany will not go down with a big bang. Rather, we will experience a state of infirmity, as has been the case in Italy for around 20 years.” A decisive factor in this is that the energy trap has been closed for Germany with the blowing up of the Nord Stream pipelines.

According to researcher Seymour Hersh, the destruction of Nord Stream is attributable to the USA. This is supported by the regular announcements of such a measure from American politicians. Here are some examples:

Then-US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in 2020: “To stop the energy cooperation between Europe and Russia) A first step would involve stopping Nord Stream-2.”

US Senator Tom Cotton in 2021: “There is still time to stop it… Kill Nord Stream 2 now, and let it rust beneath the waves of the Baltic.”

Jake Sullivan, US National Security Advisor in 2022: “We have made clear to the Russians that pipeline is at risk if they move further into Ukraine.”

Senator Ted Cruz in 2022: “The pipeline must be stopped and the only way to prevent its completion is to use all the tools available to do that.”

US President Joe Biden, standing next to Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in 2022: “There will be no longer a Nord Stream 2. We will bring an end to it.”

Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary of State for Policy: “I want to be very clear: If Russia invades Ukraine one way or another, Nord Stream 2 will not move forward.”

After the Nord Stream 2 was sabotaged, former Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorsky tweeted: “Thank you, USA.” The very next day, leading politicians from Poland, Norway and Denmark were present to open the new Norwegian-Polish Baltic Sea pipeline as an alternative to Nord Stream.

Nuland expressed her enthusiasm. “I am, and I think the government is too, very pleased to know that Nord Stream 2 is now, as they say, a pile of metal at the bottom of the sea.”

The Washington Post’s White House correspondent and confidante of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, David Ignatius, described in May 2022 that US President Biden and then-Chancellor Angela Merkel had decided in early summer 2021 to seize Nord Stream 1 and 2 in the event of a Russian attack to cancel:

Germany has been a reluctant but indispensable ally, and the Biden administration made a controversial decision last summer to win Germany’s support. Biden waived a first round of sanctions against a company that built the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, in return for a commitment from Chancellor Angela Merkel that Nord Stream 2 would be canceled in the event of a Russian invasion. When the invasion came, Merkel was no longer there, but her successor Olaf Scholz kept the promise.

Germany is by far the biggest loser from the sanctions against Russia. Economically, they have a boomerang effect. The Federal Republic can neither replace Russian gas and oil at similarly competitive prices nor the huge Russian market. The impact of the sanctions has not been evaluated. The federal government misjudged the impact of the economic war. Cheap Russian natural gas must be replaced by expensive and ecologically problematic American fracking gas. Exploding energy prices are deteriorating the competitiveness of the German economy. The hasty decoupling from the Russian market and its resources plunged the economy into recession. BRICS observers speak of a “reversal of the German economic miracle”:

Germany is by far the biggest loser in this case, as its industrial might has experienced an unprecedented unraveling, almost a sort of reverse of what was once called the “German economic miracle” in the aftermath of the Second World War. Berlin wrongfully assessed Moscow’s resilience as it anticipated that launching the unparalleled sanctions war against Russia will actually work.

The sanctions act like a boomerang and destroy not the Russian, but the German economy. All business associations have warned against de-industrialization. ZF Saarbrücken has announced that it will cut up to 7,000 jobs from 10,000. BASF is cutting 2,600 jobs, including 700 at the main plant in Ludwigshafen. These are just two examples, but they represent a comprehensive process of de-industrialization. The former economic engine Germany is also dragging its partner countries into recession. The entire EU is on the path to de-industrialization and permanent impoverishment.

In particular, medium-sized businesses are the ones who suffer from this development. The Leibnitz Institute for Economic Research in Halle confirms that the number of bankruptcies continued to rise in October. Researchers tallied more than 1,000 bankruptcies, 2% more than in September and 44% more than in October of the previous year.

According to the current poverty report from the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband, the poverty rate in Germany was already 16.9% in 2021. This means that 14.1 million people were living in poverty even before the war. The trend is also increasing as a result of the war. The transformation from a welfare state to an arms state is progressing. The focus of political argumentation is no longer social balance, but rather the creation of war capability.

Immigration pressure from Ukraine also continues. In October 2023, 1.16 million Ukrainian refugees were counted. However, they partly do not come from their mother country, but from the Netherlands and other neighboring countries and immigrate into the social systems. In Ukraine the minimum wage is 1.41 euros. There is no incentive to return to a poor, war-ravaged country. There is considerable social explosiveness lurking in all of these points. The growing dissatisfaction with the federal government’s policies and their social consequences is grist for the AfD’s mill.

Russian Security Council’s Scientific board member Sergei Karaganov said in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta:

Russia has completed its European journey… The European and especially the German elites are in a state of historical failure. The foundation of their 500-year dominance—the military superiority on which the West’s economic, political and cultural dominance was built—has been stripped away from them. Current Western elites cannot cope with the plethora of problems growing in their societies . These include a shrinking middle class and increasing inequality. Almost all of their initiatives have failed. The European Union is moving… slowly but surely towards disintegration. For this reason, European elites have shown a hostile attitude towards Russia for about 15 years. They need an external enemy.

Sergei Karaganov follows the official Russian line, which he helps shape in a responsible position. Nevertheless, his description of the shrinking middle class, a growing inequality and massive centrifugal forces within the EU is correct. The fact that Moscow is turning away from Europe is likely to have consequences that will hit Europe much harder than Russia. All of these trends represent social explosives that could easily push Europe and Germany to the brink of ungovernability.

Washington will shift the burden of war and reconstruction onto the EU. The result is a three-digit billion sum. The USA has concluded “land and lease” agreements with Ukraine based on the model of the Second World War for arms deliveries. Ukraine still has to pay for the borrowed weapons. These are billions. US Senator James Vance recently asked pointedly why one should believe that the $61 billion planned in Joe Biden’s budget will help Ukraine win when the $111 billion paid so far has not brought a breakthrough. These are the previous dimensions, and the costs of reconstruction are not included.

Overall, the war in Ukraine brings about a redistribution of the capital earned for Germany from bottom to top and from Europe to America.

6. Economic and Geostrategic Reasons for War

The Soviet Union tried to create a European peace order as early as the 1950s. This was rejected by the West. Irish historian Geoffrey Roberts has discovered documents showing that Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov proposed the USSR join NATO. The reason was the Soviet campaign for a European security order as an alternative to the European Defense Community. The proposal also included the idea of a reunified, neutral Germany. The West rejected this for two reasons: Firstly, the proposal only granted the USA and China observer status. Secondly, the West suspected that the proposal was only intended to weaken NATO’s cohesion and prevent the establishment of the EDC.

However, this rejection is an early part of the United States’ strategy to implement regime change in the Soviet Union and currently in Russia. DIA Director General Vincent R. Stewart quoted a document before the US Congress in 2017, showing that Washington was well aware of how much Moscow perceived regime change efforts as a threat:

The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine. Moscow views the United States as the critical driver behind the crisis in Ukraine and the Arab Spring and believes that the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Yanukovych is the latest move in a long-established pattern of U.S.-orchestrated regime change efforts, including the Kosovo campaign, Iraq, Libya, and the 2003–05 “color revolutions” in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan (Vincent R. Stewart, pp. 15ff).

The West is acting side by side in Ukraine, but not as one. With the aim of weakening and dividing Russia, as long-time US security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski suggested in the 1990s, the current generation of European politicians is following the US-Neocons. The federal government is also actively helping to drive a wedge between Germany and Russia. The German government is trying to save its leadership role within the EU by remaining loyal to the United States. In doing so, Berlin has further damaged German-French cooperation and destroyed its effectiveness, which was still working when they jointly rejected the Second Iraq War in 2003. Washington, on the other hand, is increasingly dividing the European Union along the Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis, thereby forcing an eastward shift of political and military weight towards new anti-Russian front lines.

The EU wants to get access to the Ukrainian mineral resources (lithium), the black earth soil, the sea routes, the sales markets, the cheap labor. If the West breaks away from Russia and China equally, then the EU will need Ukrainian rare earths, for example, for its decarbonization strategy. Conversely, large US agricultural companies are concerned with controlling the food chain. Monsanto, Elly Lilly, John Deere etc. have bought into the Ukrainian black earth soil. They own an area larger than the entire agricultural area of Italy. These are the most fertile soil in the world. The EU and USA have enforced the use of genetically modified seeds. This guarantees maximum productivity in the short term at minimum wages. Not only the Americans, but also the Europeans are dependent on Ukraine’s mineral resources.

The member of the Bundestag of the Christian Democratic Party and his parliamentary group’s military expert, Roderich Kiesewetter, revealed what it was really about. In the program “Report from Berlin Extra” he explained that the war in Ukraine is a proxy war not only for NATO, but also for Germany, which is essentially about natural resources:

If Europe wants to complete the energy transition, it needs its own lithium deposits. The largest lithium deposits in Europe are in the Donetsk-Lugansk region… So we also have completely different goals in the background here. And that’s why we need one. The combined efforts of citizens to ensure that our politicians have the backing to do more for Ukraine (Alexej Danckwardt).

Kiesewetter was also surprisingly open on another point: “It (Ukraine) is waging a proxy war.”

This is also proven by relevant studies. Ulrich Blum, Gregor Borg, Nico Krapp, Hanna Liventseva and Iewvgeniia Rozhkova have highlighted the geostrategic importance of raw materials in Ukraine:

Ukraine is rich in raw materials, especially in the Donbas region. These include raw materials such as iron ore and coal, which were important for the first industrial revolution. But the wealth also includes non-ferrous metals and battery-related minerals, especially lithium, which is of outstanding importance for the modern and especially a green economy (Blum, et al.)

This points to the deeper reasons for the war. For the European Union, it is not just about permanently weakening Russia alongside the USA. It is also about wresting important raw material deposits from the Russian orbit. Specifically: On Ukraine’s soil, the EU is fighting for its future raw material base. The study cited states:

An independent Ukraine could become a major competitor to Russia in the raw materials and minerals market. A Ukraine that belongs to the EU would be able to develop into a strategic network partner within Western economies. Magnesium plays an important role here: China currently produces over 80 percent of the world’s reserves of magnesium, an important alloying element for aluminum. If magnesium were no longer supplied due to a conflict, a large part of the aluminum industry—and thus also the vehicle industry—would come to a standstill within a short period of time (Blum, et al.).

In the territories occupied by Russia and incorporated into the Russian Federation, deposits can be found that could give Russia a market monopoly:

Under the conditions of the global energy transition, especially decarbonization, from Russia’s perspective the value of its fossil resources must inevitably erode. It can therefore be assumed that his attack on Ukraine was not only motivated by power politics, but was aimed at gaining access to Ukrainian raw materials and materials that could ensure Russia’s dominant position as a raw material supplier again in the age of a decarbonized economy. Such an approach has a tradition, because from a Russian perspective, the east of Ukraine—the Donbass—has long been considered central to the development and survival of the Russian economy (Blum, et al.).

Lithium deposits in particular play an important role in the EU’s decarbonization strategy for electromobility, renewable energies and energy storage. The low level of exploration makes it difficult to evaluate the resources. Deposits of pegmatite and spodumene are documented in the districts of Zaporizhzhia (Kruta Balka), Kirovohrad (Dobra Block) and Donetsk (Shevchenkivske): The grade and tonnage of the deposits are lower than world-class deposits, but they are still little explored and could have “considerable potential.”

This roughly outlines the geostrategic and economic reasons for war. But it is becoming apparent that a divided Europe will be unable to achieve either its political or economic goals and will instead be stuck with the costs over the long term.

7. Winners and Losers

Sustainable tectonic shifts are taking place in geopolitics and thus also in the global economy. The weight of the West is decreasing, the political and economic force is moving to the global south. The United States is fighting for its supremacy, for “full spectrum dominance”. Even if Washington is the beneficiary of the war in Ukraine—the USA is a phoenix in nosedive. While states like Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa and India are distancing themselves, Washington is preparing to drag its European satraps into the depths with it. As early as 2003, Jonathan Schell identified the USA’s pursuit of “full spectrum dominance” as the central cause of wars and crises worldwide.

The Ukraine war accelerates China’s rise to become the second superpower. China supports Russia because it does not want a weak state dependent on Washington in its north. In doing so, it also secures Russian raw material reserves. However, the threats of a nuclear strike are a thorn in Beijing’s side.

The war in Ukraine is also accelerating the independence of the BRICS and BRICS Plus states. But this is a long and contradictory process. The de-dollarization of international trade, especially oil and gas, has begun but will take a long time. Washington will defend itself against this with all its means. Because without linking energy transactions to the dollar, the United States can no longer go into endless debt and print money. But the trend towards a multipolar world continues. In the end, a new bipolar world will emerge, with Beijing and Washington as the antagonistic poles.

The EU has degenerated into a collection of satrap states of Washington, a subdivision of NATO. The EU once started out as a peace project; now this peace project is dead. As early as 2016, Richard Sakwa spoke of a “European suicide” with a view to the looming war in Ukraine:

We can talk of a ‘new suicide’ as the idealism associated with a whole era of European integration has been revealed as nugatory and an illusion. At the heart of the EU is a peace project, and it delivered on this promise in Western Europe before 1989. However, when faced with a no less demanding challenge in the post-Communist era – to heal the Cold War divisions and to build the foundations for a united continent – the EU has spectacularly failed. Instead of a vision embracing the whole continent, it has become little more than the civilian wing of the Atlantic security alliance… Atlanticism is becoming increasingly ramified, while Russia is left out in the cold (Richard Sakwa, p. 227).

The European Union has thus lost its central function. Historically, it has failed as a peace project. Overzealous transatlanticists in the federal government do not represent the interests of the German population, but rather those of the USA. The German-French axis no longer sets the tone. The tandem is not functional anymore. The reason is that Germany is increasingly trying to maintain its own leadership role within the EU. But the Washington-Vilnius-Warsaw-Kiev axis now sets the tone. US Deputy Secretary of State James O’Brien emphasized in December 2023:

Without referring to the past, I would like to emphasize that security cooperation between Poland and the United States has always been very close, regardless of what the American government and the Polish government were. Today we really want Poland to take a leading role in the European Union. And that is the declared goal of the new government.

By upgrading the EU’s eastern flank, the United States has succeeded in dividing the European Union. The eastern neighbors are now being integrated and supported as a bulwark against Russia—militarily, politically and financially. This puts Germany and Europe in the slipstream of geo-economic developments. We are becoming not only the backyard of the United States, but also the backyard of Russia. The energy flows and container traffic, the economic centers are moving eastwards, forming along the Budapest-Moscow-Astana-Beijing axis. The Silk and Road Summit in the Hungarian capital ten days ago clearly demonstrated this.

8. Conclusions and Policy Measures

Congress in Washington is currently blocking further aid to Ukraine. This leaves the Biden administration in a bind. The US government cannot keep its promises to Kiev. This shows that Biden has failed to convince skeptics in Congress that it is in the US interest to defeat Moscow in Ukraine. This also shows that Russia is NATO’s main target in the Ukraine war. The purpose of Ukraine support is not to defend Ukraine, but to exhaust Russia. The Ukrainians are just cannon fodder in the eyes of NATO. This shows the full cynicism of this war:

Ultimately, the game between the US and Europe in aiding Ukraine is that the purpose of the aid is not to defend Ukraine but to consume Russia. Ukraine is seen as a “consumable product” in the eyes of the West, and no country will pay a higher price for Ukraine’s security. This once again demonstrates the sad reality: Ukraine is the biggest loser in the entire conflict.

The United States is the biggest winner in this armed conflict. Through the Ukraine war, they have consolidated their control over their European and Asia-Pacific allies, achieving a level of hegemony that even exceeds that of the Cold War. The European Union has been reduced to a ward. Their governments behave like governors of Washington.

Ukraine is suffering the greatest damage from this policy. It can only survive thanks to the help of the USA and the EU. The country is effectively bankrupt. On the one hand, the US government is trying to fuel the war between Russia and Ukraine by increasing arms aid, but on the other hand, due to a lack of majorities in Congress, it cannot ensure follow-up funding. The war in Gaza is consuming the attention of the US government elite, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for lawmakers to win the support of war-weary US voters. This means that US politics is in a dilemma.

Despite these setbacks, the US government will not stop aiding Ukraine, because it has a demonstration effect: if Washington stops its support, European countries would follow suit. Therefore, a dirty game has begun: If the USA reduces its aid, then the EU countries will be forced to provide more support to Ukraine. But in the European Union the first governments are backing out. Six countries have not joined the declaration on security guarantees for Kiev.

These cracks in the front of the “values” West are deepening the longer the battle of attrition lasts in Ukraine. The West is unable to weaken Russia militarily, propagandistically and economically. For the Biden administration, the Ukraine war is becoming a burden in the election campaign. Nevertheless, the war will continue: The president wants to sell a Ukrainian victory as a diplomatic success. That is why there is no scope for peace talks.

The second loser is the European Union, especially Germany. There is nothing left of the “European values”: ammunition with depleted uranium; area bombings; cluster munitions; bombing of civilian targets by Ukrainians; an alliance with Nazis in militias and the Ukrainian army; ignoring Ukrainian atrocities—the West has lost all credibility, all moral integrity in the rest of the world. Not Russia, the West is isolated worldwide. People in Asia, Africa and South America look at Germany and Europe with contempt. Most of the world is united in rejecting this war provoked by NATO and in which the Ukrainian people are being burned. No one in the rest of the world is surprised that Russia does not want to see NATO missiles under its nose. People in the global South find the West’s phrases of an “unprovoked war of aggression” disgusting. Their governments don’t join in with the sanctions and laugh at Germany’s economic suicide.

This situation is a great chance for the global south: It can take advantage of unimagined opportunities: China has replaced European car manufacturers as a supplier to the Russian market. India and Saudi Arabia buy Russian oil and resell it to the stupid Europeans at a premium. A dozen large countries have demonstratively joined the BRICS alliance since the start of the war. In the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China and India are also in a military alliance with Russia. The sanctions have resulted in Europe completely destroying its reputation as a safe haven for investors. The seizure of Russian assets was legally, morally and economically insane. The exclusion of Russian athletes, artists and scientists cannot be justified and is a declaration of bankruptcy.

A change of course in German politics is therefore urgent. The federal government should end its political allegiance to Washington and focus more on an independent course. In terms of foreign policy, it would be advisable to advocate for an immediate ceasefire and the start of peace negotiations. This is the only way to stop further bloodshed and the complete destruction of Ukraine. Berlin should withdraw from military aid for Kiev and link further economic aid to Ukraine to the fact that the attack on the Nordstream pipeline is investigated and the perpetrator is punished and forced to make amends. The necessary political weight can be achieved by reactivating the German-French axis. Together with Paris and Rome, a peace policy alternative to the course of the US neocons can be formulated. In terms of economic policy, I suggest unilaterally withdrawing from the self-destructive sanctions against Russia, negotiating with Moscow about repairing Nord Stream 1 and putting the pipeline back into operation. Domestically, an active industrial, structural and educational policy would be required, which could put the 100 billion Euro package earmarked for armaments to sensible use. In my opinion, in the long term, leaving NATO, which is led by Washington, is a necessary step.

The war in Ukraine is the West’s greatest military, geopolitical and economic defeat since World War II. But that is not the worst of it. The West, especially the Federal Republic of Germany, betrayed all of its moral values in this war. We are stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians and Russians, for whose deaths we, the German politicians, military officers, arms managers and journalists, are also responsible. Again, we sit defiled among the nations.


Patrik Baab is a political scientist and journalist. His reports and research on secret services and wars do not fit in with the propaganda of states and corporate media. He has reported from Russia, Great Britain, the Balkans, Poland, the Baltic states and Afghanistan. His most recent book is Auf beiden Seiten der Front—Meine Reisen in die Ukraine (On Both Sides of the Front—My Travels in Ukraine). More about him is found on his website.


The Green Dragon and its Agony

This problem has arisen not just now, but as the West, having received for one historical moment a semblance of sole planetary domination (after the collapse of the USSR), was unable to put its leadership into practice, as a result of which new sovereign poles—Russia and China—began to assert themselves. Other poles are on the way—India, the Islamic civilization, Africa and Latin America. All in all, there are seven centers of power, including the West. Six of them have united in BRICS and are beginning to build a multipolar order.

The West continues to cling to its hegemony and is attacking the most dangerous opponents to its dominance—Russia, China and the Islamic world. This did not begin today, but rather in the very early 2000s. But the current contrast of the political map of the world has finally come into focus in recent years—and especially after the beginning of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine. The SMO was the first hot war of the multipolar world against the unipolar world. Before that—especially during President Trump’s first term and because of the rise of populism in Europe—it seemed that a direct clash would be avoided, that the West would peacefully accept multipolarity, and try to reclaim its rightful place in the post-globalization world order. This is what Trump had in mind when he called for draining the globalist swamp in the US itself. But then the swamp managed to drain Trump himself and, during the period of the swampiest President Biden, to unleash a bloody conflict in Ukraine, throwing all the forces of the collective West against Russia as the most important pole of the multipolar world.

The main result of 2023 was Russia’s disruption of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which for the globalists was the decisive moment in the entire conflict. They gave the Nazi regime in Kiev maximum support with arms, finances, political, informational and diplomatic resources. When Russia stood its ground and began to prepare for its own offensive, it turned out that everything the globalists had done had been in vain. However, as long as globalists are in power in the U.S., they intend to continue the war. And, apparently, not just to the last Ukrainian, but to the last globalist.

At the end of 2023, however, the second front in the war of unipolar and multipolar worlds opened. This time the vanguard of the West in the Middle East—the state of Israel in response to the invasion of Hamas began a systematic genocide of the population of Gaza, without any consideration at all. The United States and the collective West fully supported Tel Aviv’s actions, thus drawing a new fault line—the West against Islamic civilization.

The American neocons were already on this path in the early 2000s, which resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq, and then support for radical Islamists in Libya, Syria, and so on. Now the West is again confronted with the Islamic world, led by the Palestinians, the Yemeni Houthis, the Lebanese Hezbollah and also Iran.

In addition, in West Africa, another springboard of anti-colonial struggle against unipolarity and for multipolarity, an alliance of the most determined countries has emerged—Mali, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Gabon and Niger, where a series of anti-globalization coups have taken place. Thus here, too, a new front is emerging.

And finally, Venezuela, whose legitimate ruler Nicolas Maduro the US tried to replace with the puppet Guaido, and which ended in a complete fiasco, entered into a territorial conflict over the disputed areas of Guyana-Essekibo with the pro-Atlantist puppet, British Guyana. And Argentine President Javier Milay, though refusing to integrate with BRICS, urged England to reconsider the Malvinas issue. Thus, another front of struggle has emerged in Latin America.

Thus, we approached the new year, 2024. And here all the trends continued at an accelerated pace. Tensions for the U.S. in the Middle East are growing by the day. The war in Ukraine will certainly continue, and now the initiative is on Russia’s side.

We should also expect an escalation of the conflict over Taiwan, where the United States pushed through the election of anti-Chinese candidate Lai Qingde; further escalation in the Middle East; continuation of anti-colonial revolutions in Africa; and escalation of contradictions in Latin America into a hot phase.

In the West itself, the crisis is growing at an accelerated pace. The US has an election this year in which the globalists will face a strong wave of Republicans.

The EU is in decline, and there is a rising anti-elite, anti-liberal wave of populists—left and right—rising again. There are leftists like Sarah Wagenknecht and her new party. “Red Sarah” is becoming the symbol of Europe’s anti-liberal left.

Such leftists are first and foremost enemies of global capital—unlike the Soros-bought pseudo-leftists, who primarily advocate LGBT, Ukrainian Nazism, the Gaza genocide and uncontrolled migration, and desperately fight against Russian influence, Putin and Russia in general.

There is also a right-wing component—badly shabby, but in many European countries representing the second most important political force. For example, Marine Le Pen in France. In Germany, the Alternative for Germany is gaining strength. In Italy, despite the liberal weakness of Prime Minister Giorgi Meloni, the right-wing half of society has not gone anywhere. All right-wing populism is as it was.

But there is the globalist West, which tries to pass itself off as the entire “West.” And there are anti-globalization right-wingers and left-wingers, as well as a huge stratum of Westerners who constitute the “silent majority.” This is the most important thing—the average European person understands nothing about politics at all. Ordinary Europeans and Americans simply cannot keep up with the demands to change sex, forcibly castrate their young sons, marry goats, bring in and feed more migrants, eat cockroaches, recite bedtime prayers to Greta Thunberg, and curse the Russians. The Western common man, the petty bourgeois is the main pillar of the multipolar world. He is the core of the real West, not the sinister parody into which the globalist liberal elites have turned it.

It is very possible that in 2024 all these fault lines—wars and revolutions, conflicts and uprisings, waves of terrorist attacks and new territories of genocide—will turn into something large-scale. The downward tide of a unipolar world is already giving way to a rising multipolar one. And it is inevitable.

The dragon of globalism is mortally wounded. But we know how dangerous the agony of a wounded dragon is. The global elite of the West is insane. There is much reason to believe that 2024 will be something terrible. We are an arm’s length away from a global world war. On all fronts. If it cannot be avoided, there is nothing left to do but win it.

It is necessary to finish off the dragon to free mankind, and the West itself, which is its first victim, from its evil spell.


Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Ria Novosti and Geopolitika.


Featured: “Saint George and the Dragon.” Folio 26 recto, from the Passio Sancti Georgii, passio Sanctae Margaretae manuscript, dated ca. 1270: MS 1853 in the Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy).


World War III or Subjugation?

Is this the dilemma the world is faced with today?

Paul Craig Roberts has long been a critic of Vladimir Putin’s policy towards the United States. He stigmatizes his pusillanimous reactions to American provocations, such as NATO’s on-going move East, the seizure of Russian Consular property in San Francisco, the freezing of about $300 million of Russian financial assets, and economic sanctions imposed on Russia which are a case of war absent a U.N. Security Council’s approval. Gilbert Doctorow joins Roberts in his criticism of Putin. As pertinent as their opinion might be, I respectfully disagree. Here is why.

Vladimir Putin is an intelligent, rationale and knowledgeable person. The United States are led by neocons—a bunch of people who are overwhelmed by their emotions and could—one thing leading to another—start World War III. [According to The Royal Institute of International Affairs (April 2014), on thirteen occasions the world came close to a nuclear war due to human errors or technical deficiencies during the Cold War].

Bombing Yemen is ineffective. Joe Biden knows it but vowed to continue anyway! The situation in the Middle East is extremely unstable, and the war in Ukraine shows no sign of abating.

Taiwan is an enigma. The world is unsettled. Vladimir Putin knows it, so does Xi Jinping. Neither one wants to face another Cuban crisis, not even a situation which would be close to it. Both follow a policy aimed at protecting their country’s respective interests while avoiding anything which could make it worse or be viewed as provocative by the United States and increase tension. The United States never, ever declared war with the exception of World War I, and the Iraq invasion of 2003. All the wars fought by the United States were provoked by Washington. The war in Ukraine is a case in point, but so is the war against Mexico, the war against Spain, Vietnam, not to mention the attrition of Indian tribes through repeated treaties Washington knew very well Indians could not abide by, etc. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping know that and act accordingly.

The danger, of course, and this is what worries Paul Craig Roberts and Gilbert Doctorow, is that Vladimir Putin’s and Xi Jinping’s rational, controlled attitude may backfire, and lead to their defeat—a prolonged Ukraine war would do Russia in. A weakened Russia would give China no choice but surrender. Indeed, the risk exists. The question then becomes: What’s preferable? WWIII or subjugation? Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are desperately trying to find a middle way. Will they succeed? As for the neocons, one wonders whether they are aware of the dilemma.


Jean-Luc Basle is a former Vice President of the Citigroup New York (retired).


Featured: The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolai Arbo; painted in 1872.


The Russian Art of War: How the West Led Ukraine to Defeat

We are very happy to bring you this excerpt (along with the Table of Contents) from Colonel Jacques Baud’s latest book, The Russian Art of War: How the West Led Ukraine to Defeat (L’art de la guerre russe: Comment l’occident conduire l’ukraine a la echec). This is a detailed study of the two-year old conflict in which the West has brutally used the Ukrainians to pursue an old pipedream: the conquest of Russia.

Please support the work of Colonel Baud and purchase a copy at Amazon, or at Barnes & Noble. And please ask all your family and friends to get a copy of this important and timely book as well.

Russian Military Thought

Throughout the Cold War period, the Soviet Union saw itself as the spearhead of a historical struggle that would lead to a confrontation between the “capitalist” system and “progressive forces.” This perception of a permanent and inescapable war led the Soviets to study war in a quasi-scientific way, and to structure this thinking into an architecture of military thought that has no equal in the Western world.

The problem with the vast majority of our so-called military experts is their inability to understand the Russian approach to war. It is the result of an approach we have already seen in waves of terrorist attacks—the adversary is so stupidly demonized that we refrain from understanding his way of thinking. As a result, we are unable to develop strategies, articulate our forces, or even equip them for the realities of war. The corollary of this approach is that our frustrations are translated by unscrupulous media into a narrative that feeds hatred and increases our vulnerability. We are thus unable to find rational, effective solutions to the problem.

The way Russians understand conflict is holistic. In other words, they see the processes that develop and lead to the situation at any given moment. This explains why Vladimir Putin’s speeches invariably include a return to history. In the West, we tend to focus on X moment and try to see how it might evolve. We want an immediate response to the situation we see today. The idea that “from the understanding of how the crisis arose comes the way to resolve it” is totally foreign to the West. In September 2023, an English-speaking journalist even pulled out the “duck test” for me: “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” In other words, all the West needs to assess a situation is an image that fits their prejudices. Reality is much more subtle than the duck model….

The reason the Russians are better than the West in Ukraine is that they see the conflict as a process; whereas we see it as a series of separate actions. The Russians see events as a film. We see them as photographs. They see the forest, while we focus on the trees. That is why we place the start of the conflict on February 24, 2022, or the start of the Palestinian conflict on October 7, 2023. We ignore the contexts that bother us and wage conflicts we do not understand. That is why we lose our wars…

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In Russia, unsurprisingly, the principles of the military art of the Soviet forces inspired those currently in use:

  • readiness to carry out assigned missions;
  • concentration of efforts on solving a specific mission;
  • surprise (unconventionality) of military action vis-à-vis the enemy;
  • finality determines a set of tasks and the level of resolution of each one;
  • totality of available means determines the way to resolve the mission and achieve the objective (correlation of forces);
  • coherence of leadership (unity of command);
  • economy of forces, resources, time and space;
  • support and restoration of combat capability;
  • freedom of maneuver.

It should be noted that these principles apply not only to the implementation of military action as such. They are also applicable as a system of thought to other non-operational activities.

An honest analysis of the conflict in Ukraine would have identified these various principles and drawn useful conclusions for Ukraine. But none of the self-proclaimed experts on TV were intellectually able to do so.

Thus, Westerners are systematically surprised by the Russians in the fields of technology (e.g., hypersonic weapons), doctrine (e.g., operative art) and economics (e.g., resilience to sanctions). In a way, the Russians are taking advantage of our prejudices to exploit the principle of surprise. We can see this in the Ukrainian conflict, where the Western narrative led Ukraine to totally underestimate Russian capabilities, which was a major factor in its defeat. That is why Russia did not really try to counter this narrative and let it play out—the belief that we are superior makes us vulnerable….

Correlation of Forces

Russian military thought is traditionally linked to a holistic approach to warfare, which involves the integration of a large number of factors in the development of a strategy. This approach is materialized by the concept of “correlation of forces” (Соотношение сил).

Often translated as “balance of forces” or “ratio of forces,” this concept is only understood by Westerners as a quantitative quantity, limited to the military domain. In Soviet thinking, however, the correlation of forces reflected a more holistic reading of war:

There are several criteria for assessing the correlation of strengths. In the economic sphere, the factors usually compared are gross national product per capita, labor productivity, the dynamics of economic growth, the level of industrial production, particularly in high-tech sectors, the technical infrastructure of the production tool, the resources and degree of qualification of the workforce, the number of specialists and the level of development of theoretical and applied sciences.

In the military field, the factors compared are the quantity and quality of armaments, the firepower of the armed forces, the fighting and moral qualities of the soldiers, the level of staff training, the organization of the troops and their combat experience, the character of the military doctrine and the methods of strategic, operative and tactical thinking.

In the political sphere, the factors that come into consideration are the breadth of the social base of state authority, its organization, the constitutional procedure for relations between the government and legislative bodies, the ability to take operational decisions, and the degree and character of popular support for domestic and foreign policy.

Finally, when assessing the strength of the international movement, the factors taken into consideration are its quantitative composition, its influence with the masses, its position in the political life of each country, the principles and norms of relations between its components and the degree of their cohesion.

In other words, the assessment of the situation is not limited to the balance of forces on the battlefield, but takes into account all the elements that have an impact on the evolution of the conflict. Thus, for their Special Military Operation, the Russian authorities had planned to support the war effort through the economy, without moving to a “war economy” regimen. Thus, unlike in Ukraine, there was no interruption in the tax and welfare mechanisms.

This is why the sanctions applied to Russia in 2014 had a double positive effect. The first was the realization that they were not only a short-term problem, but above all a medium- and long-term opportunity. They encouraged Russia to produce goods it had previously preferred to buy abroad. The second was the signal that the West would increasingly use economic weapons as a means of pressure in the future. It therefore became imperative, for reasons of national independence and sovereignty, to prepare for more far-reaching sanctions affecting the country’s economy.

In reality, it has long been known that sanctions do not work. Logically enough, they have had the opposite effect, acting as protectionist measures for Russia, which has thus been able to consolidate its economy, as had been the case after the 2014 sanctions. A sanctions strategy might have paid off if the Russian economy had effectively been the equivalent of the Italian or Spanish economy, i.e., with a high level of debt; and if the entire planet had acted in unison to isolate Russia.

The inclusion of the correlation of forces in the decision-making process is a fundamental difference from Western decision-making processes, which are linked more to a policy of communication than to a rational approach to problems.

This explains, for example, Russia’s limited objectives in the Ukraine, where it does not seek to occupy the entire territory, as the correlation of forces in the western part of the country would be unfavorable.

At every level of leadership, the correlation of forces is part of situation assessment. At the operational level, it is defined as follows:

The result of comparing the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of the forces and resources (sub-units, units, weapons, military equipment, etc.) of one’s own troops (forces) and those of the enemy. It is calculated on an operational and tactical scale throughout the area of operations, in the main and other directions, in order to determine the degree of objective superiority of one of the opposing camps. Force correlation assessment is used to make an informed decision about an operation (battle), and to establish and maintain the necessary superiority over the enemy for as long as possible, when decisions are redefined (modified) during military (combat) operations.

This simple definition is the reason why the Russians committed themselves with forces inferior to those of Ukraine in February 2022, or why they withdrew from Kiev, Kharkov and Kherson in March, September and October 2022.

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Structure of the Doctrine

The Russians have always attached particular importance to doctrine. Better than the West, they have understood that “a common way of seeing, thinking and acting”—as Marshal Foch put it—gives coherence, while allowing for infinite variations in the conception of operations. Military doctrine is a kind of “common core” that serves as a reference for designing operations.

Russian military doctrine divides military art into three main components: strategy (strategiya), operative art (operativnoe iskoustvo) and tactics (taktika). Each of these components has its own characteristics, very similar to those found in Western doctrines. Using the terminology of French doctrine on the use of forces:

  • The strategic level is that of conception. The aim of strategic action is to lead the adversary to negotiation or defeat.
  • The operative level is that of cooperation and coordination of inter-force actions, with a view to achieving a given military objective.
  • The tactical level, finally, is that of maneuver execution at weapon level as an integral part of the operational maneuver.

These three components correspond to levels of leadership, which translate into leadership structures and the space in which military operations are conducted. For simplicity’s sake, let us say that the strategic level ensures the management of the theater of war (Театр Войны) (TV); a geographically vast entity, with its own command and control structures, within which there are one or more strategic directions. The theater of war comprises a set of theaters of military operations (Театр Военных Действий) (TVD), which represent a strategic direction and are the domain of operative action. These various theaters have no predetermined structure and are defined according to the situation. For example, although we commonly speak of the “war in Afghanistan” (1979-1989) or the “war in Syria” (2015-), these countries are considered in Russian terminology as TVDs and not TVs.

The same applies to Ukraine, which Russia sees as a theater of military operations (TVD) and not a theater of war (TV), which explains why the action in Ukraine is designated as a “Special Military Operation” (Специальная Военая Операция—Spetsialaya). A Special Military Operation” (Специальная Военная Операция – Spetsial’naya Voyennaya Operatsiya—SVO, or SMO in English abbreviation) and not a “war.”

The use of the word “war” would imply a different structure of conduct than that envisaged by the Russians in Ukraine, and would have other structural implications in Russia itself. Moreover—and this is a central point—as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg himself acknowledges, “the war began in 2014” and should have been ended by the Minsk Agreements. The SMO is therefore a “military operation” and not a new “war,” as many Western “experts” claim.

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The Special Military Operation in Ukraine

The Correlation of Forces

Consider all the factors that directly or indirectly influence the conflict. Conversely, as we have seen in Ukraine and elsewhere, Westerners have a much more political reading of the war, and end up mixing the two. This is why communication plays such an essential role in the conduct of war: the perception of the conflict plays an almost more important role than its reality. This is why, in Iraq, the Americans literally invented episodes that glorified their troops.

Russia’s analysis of the situation in February 2022 was undoubtedly considerably more pertinent than that of the West. They knew that a Ukrainian offensive against the Donbass was underway and that it could endanger the government. In 2014-2015, after the massacres in Odessa and Mariupol, the Russian population was very much in favor of intervention. Vladimir Putin’s stubborn clinging to the Minsk Agreements was poorly understood in Russia.

The factors that contributed to Russia’s decision to intervene were twofold: the expected support of Ukraine’s ethnically Russian population (which we will call “Russian-speaking” for convenience) and an economy robust enough to withstand sanctions.

The Russian-speaking population had risen up en masse against the new authorities following the coup d’état of February 2014, whose first decision had been to strip the Russian language of its official status. Kiev tried to backtrack, but in April 2019, the 2014 decision was definitively confirmed.

Since the adoption of the Law on Indigenous Peoples on July 1, 2021, Russian speakers (ethnic Russians) are no longer considered normal Ukrainian citizens and no longer enjoy the same rights as ethnic Ukrainians. They can therefore be expected to offer no resistance to the Russian coalition in the eastern part of the country….

Since March 24, 2021, Ukrainian forces have been stepping up their presence around the Donbass and have increased the pressure against the autonomists with their fire.

Zelensky’s decree of March 24, 2021 for the reconquest of Crimea and the Donbass was the real trigger for the SMO. From that moment on, the Russians understood that if there was military action against them, they would have to intervene. But they also knew that the cause of the Ukrainian operation was NATO membership, as Oleksei Arestovitch had explained. That is why, in mid-December 2021, they were submitting proposals to the USA and NATO on extending the Alliance: their aim was then to remove Ukraine’s motive for an offensive in the Donbass.

The reason for the Russian Special Military Operation (SMO) is indeed the protection of the populations of Donbass; but this protection was necessary because of Kiev’s desire to go through a confrontation to enter NATO. The extension of NATO is therefore only the indirect cause of the conflict in Ukraine. The latter could have spared itself this ordeal by implementing the Minsk Agreements—but what we wanted was a defeat for Russia.

In 2008, Russia intervened in Georgia to protect the Russian minority then being bombed by its government, as confirmed by the Swiss ambassador, Heidi Tagliavini, who was responsible for investigating this event. In 2014, many voices were raised in Russia to demand intervention when the new regime in Kiev had engaged its army against the civilian population of the five autonomist oblasts (Odessa, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Lugansk and Donetsk) and applied a fierce repression. In 2022, it could be expected that the population of Russia would not understand the government’s inaction, after no efforts were made from the Ukrainian and Western sides to enforce the Minsk Agreements. They knew that they did not have the means to launch an economic retaliation. But they also knew that an economic war against Russia would inevitably backfire on Western countries.

An important element of Russian military and political thinking is its legalistic dimension. The way our media present events, systematically omitting facts that could explain, justify, legitimize or even legalize Russia’s actions. We tend to think that Russia is acting outside any legal framework. For example, our media present the Russian intervention in Syria as having been decided unilaterally by Moscow; whereas it was carried out at the request of the Syrian government, after the West had allowed the Islamic State to move closer to Damascus, as confessed by John Kerry, then Secretary of State. Nevertheless, there is never any mention of the occupation of eastern Syria by American troops, who were never even invited there!

We could multiply the examples, to which our journalists will counter with the war crimes committed by Russian forces. This may well be true, but the simple fact that these accusations are not based on any impartial and neutral investigation (as required by humanitarian doctrine), nor on any international one, since Russia is systematically refused participation, casts a shadow over the honesty of these accusations. For example, the sabotage of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines was immediately attributed to Russia, which was accused of violating international law.

In fact, unlike the West, which advocates a “rules-based international order,” the Russians insist on a “law-based international order.” Unlike the West, they will apply the law to the letter. No more, no less.

The legal framework for Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has been meticulously planned. As this subject has already been covered in one of my previous books, I will not go into details here…

****

The Objectives and Strategy of Russia

On February 23, 2023, Swiss military “expert” Alexandre Vautravers commented on Russia’s objectives in Ukraine:

The aim of the Special Military Operation was to decapitate Ukrainian political and military governance in the space of five, ten, maybe even two weeks. The Russians then changed their plan and their objectives with a number of other failures; so they change their objectives and their strategic orientations almost every week or every month.

The problem is that our “experts” themselves define Russia’s objectives according to what they imagine, only to be able to say that it has not achieved them. So. Let us get back to the facts.

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched its “Special Military Operation” (SMO) in Ukraine “at short notice.” In his televised address, Vladimir Putin explained that its strategic objective was to protect the population of Donbass. This objective can be broken down into two parts:

  • “demilitarize” the Ukrainian armed forces regrouped in the Donbass in preparation for the offensive against the DPR and LPR; and
  • “denazify” (i.e. “neutralize”) the ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi paramilitary militias in the Mariupol area.

The formulation chosen by Vladimir Putin has been very poorly analyzed in the West. It is inspired by the 1945 Potsdam Declaration, which envisaged the development of defeated Germany according to four principles: demilitarization, denazification, democratization and decentralization.

The Russians understand war from a Clausewitzian perspective: war is the pursuit of politics by other means. This then means that they seek to transform operational successes into strategic successes, and military successes into political objectives. So, while the demilitarization evoked by Putin is clearly linked to the military threat to the populations of the Donbass in application of the decree of March 24, 2021, signed by Zelensky.

But this objective conceals a second: the neutralization of Ukraine as a future NATO member. This is what Zelensky understood when he proposed a resolution to the conflict in March 2022. At first, his proposal was supported by Western countries, probably because at this stage they believed that Russia had failed in its bid to take over Ukraine in three days, and that it would not be able to sustain its war effort because of the massive sanctions imposed on it. But at the NATO meeting of March 24, 2022, the Allies decided not to support Zelensky’s proposition.

Nevertheless, on March 27, Zelensky publicly defended his proposal and on March 28, as a gesture of support for this effort, Vladimir Putin eased the pressure on the capital and withdrew his troops from the area. Zelensky’s proposal served as the basis for the Istanbul Communiqué of March 29, 2022, a ceasefire agreement as a prelude to a peace agreement. It was this document that Vladimir Putin presented in June 2023, when an African delegation visited Moscow. It was Boris Johnson’s intervention that prompted Zelensky to withdraw his proposal, exchanging peace and the lives of his men for support “for as long as it takes.”

This version of events—which I have already presented in my previous works—was finally confirmed in early November 2023 by David Arakhamia, then chief negotiator for Ukraine196. He explained that Russia had never intended to seize Kiev.

In essence, Russia agreed to withdraw to the borders of February 23, 2022, in exchange for a ceiling on Ukrainian forces and a commitment not to become a NATO member, along with security guarantees from a number of countries….

Two conclusions can be drawn:

  • Russia’s objective was not to conquer territory. If the West had not intervened to push Zelensky to withdraw his offer, Ukraine would probably still have its army.
  • While the Russians intervened to ensure the security and protection of the population of the Donbass, their SMO enabled them to achieve a broader objective, which involves Russia’s security.

This means that, although this objective is not formulated, the demilitarization of Ukraine could open the door to its neutralization. This is not surprising since, conversely, in an interview with the Ukrainian channel Apostrof’ on March 18, 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky’s advisor Oleksei Arestovitch cynically explains that, because Ukraine wants to join NATO, it will have to create the conditions for Russia to attack Ukraine and be definitively defeated.

The problem is that Ukrainian and Western analysis is fueled by their own narratives. The conviction that Russia will lose has meant that no alternative contingency has been prepared. In September 2023, the West, beginning to see the collapse of this narrative and its implementation, tried to move towards a “freeze” in the conflict, without taking into account the opinion of the Russians, who dominate on the ground.

Yet Russia would have been satisfied with a situation such as that proposed by Zelensky in March 2022. What the West wants in September 2023 is merely a pause until an even more violent conflict breaks out, after Ukrainian forces have been rearmed and reconstituted.

****

Ukrainian Strategy

The strategic objective of Volodymyr Zelensky and his team is to join NATO, as a prelude to a brighter future within the EU. It complements that of the Americans (and therefore of the Europeans). The problem is that tensions with Russia, particularly over Crimea, are causing NATO members to put off Ukraine’s participation. In March 2022, Zelensky revealed on CNN that this is exactly what the Americans told him.

Before coming to power in April 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky’s discourse was divided between two antagonistic policies: the reconciliation with Russia promised during his presidential campaign and his goal of joining NATO. He knows that these two policies are mutually exclusive, as Russia does not want to see NATO and its nuclear weapons installed in Ukraine and wanted neutrality or non-alignment.

What is more, he knows that his ultra-nationalist allies will refuse to negotiate with Russia. This was confirmed by Praviy Sektor leader Dmitro Yarosh, who openly threatened him with death in the Ukrainian media a month after his election. Zelensky therefore knew from the start of the election campaign that he would not be able to fulfill his promise of reconciliation, and that there was only one solution left: confrontation with Russia.

But this confrontation could not be waged by Ukraine alone against Russia, and it would need the material support of the West. The strategy devised by Zelensky and his team was revealed before his election in March 2019 by Oleksei Arestovitch, his personal advisor, on the Ukrainian media Apostrof’. Arestovitch explained that it would take an attack by Russia to provoke an international mobilization that would enable Ukraine to defeat Russia once and for all, with the help of Western countries and NATO. With astonishing precision, he described the course of the Russian attack as it would unfold three years later, between February and March 2022. Not only did he explain that this conflict was unavoidable if Ukraine is to join NATO, but he also placed this confrontation in 2021-2022! He outlined the main areas of Western aid:

In this conflict, we will be very actively supported by the West. Weapons. Equipment. Assistance. New sanctions against Russia. Most likely, the introduction of a NATO contingent. A no-fly zone, and so on. In other words, we won’t lose it.

As we can see, this strategy has much in common with the one described by the RAND Corporation at the same time. So much so, in fact, that it is hard not to see it as a strategy strongly inspired by the United States. In his interview, Arestovitch singled out four elements that would become the pillars of the Ukrainian strategy against Russia, and to which Zelensky returned regularly:

  • International aid and arms supplies,
  • International sanctions,
  • NATO intervention,
  • Creation of a no-fly zone.

It should be noted that these four pillars are understood by Zelensky as promises whose fulfillment is essential to the success of this strategy. In February 2023, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of Ukraine’s Defense and National Security Council, declared in The Kyiv Independent that Ukraine’s objective was the disintegration of Russia. The mobilization of Western countries to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons then seems to give substance to this objective, which is consistent with what Oleksiy Arestovich had declared in March 2019.

A few months later, however, it became clear that the equipment supplied to Ukraine was not sufficient to ensure the success of its counter-offensive, and Zelensky asked for additional, better-adapted equipment. At this point, there was a certain amount of Western irritation at these repeated demands. Former British Defense Minister Ben Wallace declared that Westerners “are not Amazon.” In fact, the West does not respect its commitments.

Contrary to what our media and pseudo-military experts tell us, since February 2022, it has been clear that Ukraine cannot defeat Russia on its own. As Obama put it, “Russia [there] will always be able to maintain its escalation dominance.” In other words, Ukraine will only be able to achieve its goals with the involvement of NATO countries. This means that its fate will depend on the goodwill of Western countries. So, we need to maintain a narrative that encourages the West to keep up this effort. This narrative will then become what we call, in strategic terms, its “center of gravity.”

As the months went by, the course of operations showed that the prospect of a Ukrainian victory was becoming increasingly remote, as Russia, far from being weakened, was growing stronger, militarily and economically. Even General Christopher Cavoli, Supreme American Commander Europe (SACEUR), told a US congressional committee that “Russia’s air, naval, space, digital and strategic capabilities have not suffered significant degradation during this war.”

The West, expecting a short conflict, is no longer able to maintain the effort promised to Ukraine. The NATO summit in Vilnius (July 11-12, 2023) ended in partial success for Ukraine. Its membership is postponed indefinitely. Its situation is even worse than it was at the beginning of 2022, since there is no more justification for its entry into NATO than there was before the SMO.

Ukraine then turned its attention to a more concrete objective: regaining sovereignty over its entire 1991 territory.

Thus, the Ukrainian notion of “victory” rapidly evolved. The idea of a “collapse of Russia” quickly faded, as did that of its dismemberment. There was talk of “regime change,” which Zelensky made his objective by forbidding any negotiations as long as Vladimir Putin was in power. Then came the reconquest of lost territories, thanks to the counter-offensive of 2023. But here, too, hopes quickly faded. The plan was simply to cut the Russian forces in two, with a thrust towards the Sea of Azov. But by September 2023, this objective had been reduced to the liberation of three cities.

In the absence of concrete successes, narrative remains the only element Ukraine can rely on to maintain Western attention and willingness to support it. For, as Ben Wallace, ex-Defence Minister, put it in The Telegraph on October 1, 2023: “The most precious commodity is hope.” True enough. But Western appraisal of the situation must be based on realistic analyses of the adversary. However, since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis, Western analyses have been based on prejudice.

****

The Notion of Victory

Russia operates within a framework of Clausewitzian thinking, in which operational successes are exploited for strategic ends. Operational strategy (“operative art”) therefore plays an essential role in the definition of what is considered a victory.

As we saw during the battle of Bakhmut, the Russians adapted perfectly to the strategy imposed on Ukraine by the West, which prioritizes the defense of every square meter. The Ukrainians thus played into the hands of the attrition strategy officially announced by Russia. Conversely, in Kharkov and Kherson, the Russians preferred to cede territory in exchange for the lives of their men. In the context of a war of attrition, sacrificing potential in exchange for territory, as Ukraine is doing, is the worst strategy of all.

This is why General Zaluzhny, commander of the Ukrainian forces, tried to oppose Zelensky and proposed withdrawing his forces from Bakhmut. But in Ukraine, it is the Western narrative that guides military decisions. Zelensky preferred to follow the path laid out for him by our media, in order to retain the support of Western opinion. In November 2023, General Zaluzhny had to openly admit that this decision was a mistake, because prolonging the war will only favor Russia.

The Ukrainian conflict was inherently asymmetrical. The West wanted to turn it into a symmetrical conflict, proclaiming that Ukraine’s capabilities could be enough to topple Russia. But this was clearly wishful thinking from the outset, and its sole purpose was to justify non-compliance with the Minsk Agreements. Russian strategists have turned it into an asymmetrical conflict.

Ukraine’s problem in this conflict is that it has no rational relationship with the notion of victory. By comparison, the Palestinians, who are aware of their quantitative inferiority, have switched to a way of thinking that gives the simple act of resisting a sense of victory. This is the asymmetrical nature of the conflict that Israel has never managed to understand in 75 years, and which it is reduced to overcoming through tactical superiority rather than strategic finesse. In Ukraine, it is the same phenomenon. By clinging to a notion of victory linked to the recovery of territory, Ukraine has locked itself into a logic that can only lead to defeat.

On November 20, 2023, Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, painted a gloomy picture of Ukrainian prospects for 2024. His speech showed that Ukraine had neither a plan to emerge from the conflict, nor an approach that would associate a sense of victory with that emergence: he was reduced to linking Ukraine’s victory to that of the West. In the West, however, the end of the conflict in Ukraine is increasingly perceived as a military, political, human and economic debacle.

In an asymmetrical situation, each protagonist is free to define his or her own criteria for victory, and to choose from a range of criteria under his or her control. This is why Egypt (1973), Hezbollah (2006), the Islamic State (2017), the Palestinian resistance since 1948 and Hamas in 2023 are victorious, despite massive losses. This seems counter-intuitive to a Western mind, but it is what explains why Westerners are unable to really “win” their wars.

In Ukraine, the political leadership has locked itself into a narrative that precludes a way out of the crisis without losing face. The asymmetrical situation now working to Ukraine’s disadvantage stems from a narrative that has been confused with reality, and has led to a response that is ill-suited to the nature of the Russian operation.


Featured: Defend Sevastopol, by Vassily Nesterenko; painted in 2005.


Conflicts: A Short Interview with Richard Black

The following is a brief interview with Richard Black, former member of the Virginia State Senate and one of the very few, if not the only Western politician, to openly speak out against U. S. proxy wars in the Middle East.

Costantino Ceoldo (CC): What does the American citizen think about the confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians?

Richard Black (RB): Most Americans felt that Israelis were justified in fighting back after Hamas attacked them… But global protests demonstrated that Israel has lost support because of their mistreatment of Palestinians, particularly on the West Bank.

CC: And in other countries, in your opinion?

RB: Open borders immigration is pushing millions of Arabs and Muslims into the U. S., the UK, and Europe. The new immigrants reject the West’s long-standing consensus that Jews had the right to force the ancient inhabitants of Palestine from their farms and homes. Current immigration policies will unquestionably lead to the eventual demise of Israel once Muslims grow sufficiently numerous to overpower support for Israel. Current immigration policies rest on the UN 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees. Although nations can withdraw from those treaties, only Great Britain, which is being flooded with Rwandan immigrants has seriously begun working against them thus far.

CC: What fate awaits the Palestinians?

RB: The Palestinian people cannot simply vanish from the Earth; they must live somewhere. Since 1948, Israel has pushed millions of Palestinians out of what is now called Israel, and other countries are loathe to accept any more. It is time for Israel to carry out their end of the bargain.

CC: It seems that the fate of the Biden presidency is tied to Israel…

RB: The violence in Gaza has split the Democrat Party, and that threatens Joe Biden’s reelection… According to the Jerusalem Post, over half of the Democrat Party’s campaign contributions come from wealthy Jewish contributors. They insist on Biden supporting Israel’s deadly bombing in the Gaza Strip. That pits Jewish-Americans against Muslim Americans, and both are vital Democrat voting blocks. Biden has angered Muslim voters, who see the Gaza attacks as war crimes. In 2020, Jews voted 75% Democrat, and Muslims voted 65% Democrat. But this year, Muslims were already irritated with Biden over education. His Education Department encouraged schools to expose children to homosexuality. They encouraged transgendered men to read suggestive books to schoolchildren while wearing highly-sexualized female costumes. This perverse agenda had already hurt Democrats with Muslim voters, who are protective of their schools. On October 31st, Reuters reported that Arab American support for Biden and the Democrats had plunged to 17% in recent polls, which could cause Biden to lose in Michigan, a state that is essential to winning the national vote in the electoral college.

CC: Is it not in the interest of Israel and its incumbent government for the US to openly enter the conflict?

RB: Since the Gulf War of 1990, the U. S. has fought Arabs continuously for 34 years. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and Yemen have been disastrous, both for them and for us. The U. S. has lost power and prestige from needless wars in Ukraine and the Mideast. Now, violence in Gaza has further shaken our fragile alliances in that region. America is prepared to expand its military involvement to support Israel, but our military power has eroded, and the Pentagon would prefer to contain the conflict in Gaza. There’s little question that Netanyahu would like to see Americans fight Hezbollah’s battle-hardened army in Lebanon. But although the U. S. could defeat them from the air, Hezbollah is a substantial military power that cannot be brushed off lightly. They are well armed, highly disciplined, and battle hardened. They are among the world’s finest urban fighters today.

CC: So what?

RB: The U. S. treasury is depleted, and the U. S. cannot afford another war. I doubt that Biden will seek to expand this one. He does not need to fight another highly-unpopular war as Election Day approaches in November. Ukraine is yesterday’s news. When its counteroffensive failed, the war left the front pages. Today, all eyes are on Gaza. After many months of friendship with Russia, Netanyahu foolishly sent intelligence operatives to fight for Ukraine. As a consequence, Russia harshly criticized Israel’s attack on Gaza, and Israel can’t help Zelenski any longer because of war in Gaza.


Costantino Ceoldo writes in the areas of geopolitics; his work is published in many journals. This article appears courtesy of PRAVDA.ru.


War as an Object of Study in French Political Philosophy

Introduction

Hopes for a peaceful development of mankind in the 21st century have not come true, and the predictions of polemologists led by Gaston Bouthoul have largely become the reality of today. In this regard, theories that have not recently had a wide reception, as they chose war as the object of research, are now coming to the fore. Among them we should mention the area of the “philosophy of war,” which has found numerous proponents among French political philosophers.

Continuing the French tradition of viewing war through the prism of philosophy, a study by the renowned French philosopher Henri-Paul Hude, A Philosophy of War, was published in France, in November 2022, and in English in 2023. In it, Hude poses the problem of the emergence and the possibility of eliminating war from the life of mankind in our time. On April 11, 2023, at the Department of Philosophy of Politics and Law, Faculty of Philosophy, Lomonosov Moscow State University, a discussion of this book was held online with the participation of the author of the book. The event included a fruitful dialogue on the causal links between war and politics. The French professor presented his point of view on the importance of penetrating into the essence of war through its philosophical interpretation. Obviously, his views are based on a solid foundation created by French political philosophers and thinkers over several centuries, which I would like to describe in this article.

Philosophical Understanding of War: The Emergence of the Term, “Philosophy of War”

Since ancient times, philosophers have tried to understand the meaning of war and the reasons for its emergence. The philosophical approach fundamentally differed from other forms of understanding this phenomenon: mythological, religious, historical. Rational comprehension of this phenomenon allowed us to identify its essential features and thereby understand the cause-and-effect relationship between the factors that give rise to it and the coming consequences. We find such attempts in European antiquity in Heraclitus, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero and others. War as an essential part of the life of society was reflected in the works of military leaders, thinkers, philosophers, but for a long time there was no separation of the field of knowledge about war into a separate branch.

One of the first to speak of a “philosophy of war” was Marquis Georges de Chambray, a participant in the Russian campaign of 1812. In the preface to his work called Philosophie de la guerre (Philosophy of War), (first published in 1827, then continuously reprinted), he explains in what sense he treats the concept of “philosophy,” which he connects with the concept of “war” to penetrate into the essence of this phenomenon:

As the word “Philosophy” has several meanings, I feel I must make known the one I have given it in the title of this work.
There are four stages in the exercise of human intelligence: 1. Craft; 2. Art; 3. Science; 4. Philosophy. Craft is a routine or skill acquired through practice, without knowledge of principles and rules; art is subject to rules or principles; science is a system of knowledge about a useful object; philosophy is the background, the positive, the essence or even the generalities of a science.
I have used the word Philosophy in this sense: (a) Linné, (b) Voltaire, (c) Fourcroy, (d) Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire and many other authors have used it in the same sense (Philosophie de la guerre, pp. v-vi).

It should be noted that the Marquis de Chambray’s book was published several years earlier than Carl von Clausewitz’s work, On War, in which the Prussian military thinker did not use this term. Of course, this does not indicate that his work had no philosophical significance. Clausewitz is rightly written about as a representative of the philosophy of war, but the priority in the creation of the term does not belong to him.

Formation of the Field of the “Philosophy of War”

It is noteworthy that at the initial stage of the emergence of the philosophy of war, a significant contribution to the formation of this field was made by professional military men (von Clausewitz, de Chambray). The continuator of this tradition was the French author, Captain R. Henry, who wrote another book on the philosophy of war. It is not by chance that his work is referred to by the Russian and Soviet military commander Andrei E. Snesarev, who created a training course on the philosophy of war for officers-in-training at the Military Academy of the Red Army, of which he was the head from 1919 to 1921.

On the eve of the 19th century, pacifist sentiments prevailed in European philosophical and socio-political thought. In France, as in other European countries, there were illusions among intellectuals that war would be replaced by a new system of relations between states, when wars would become unnecessary because an adequate substitute would be found. In this case, war becomes pointless, as it is replaced by other ways of conflict resolution: diplomatic, economic, expansion of cultural contacts, etc. Among those who did not share optimism about the peaceful development of mankind was the French philosopher and sociologist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who doubted that war could be done away with. In his two-volume study, War and Peace (La guerre et la paix), he comes to the conclusion that war is inseparable from the life of society and that it is a necessary condition for its existence:

In my own view, it is plain that war has deep roots, scarcely discernible, in the religious, juridical, aesthetic and moral sentiments of peoples. It might even be argued that it has its abstract formula in dialectics. War is our history, our life, our very soul; it is legislation, politics, State, homeland, social hierarchy, the rights of people, poetry, theology; it is, once again, everything. We hear talk of doing away with war, as if it were some sort of toll or tariff. And there is no appreciation that if we discount war and its
associated ideas, nothing, absolutely nothing remains of humanity’s past and not a single atom upon which to build its future. Oh, I may well say to these clumsy peace-mongers, as I myself was once told in respect of property: How do you envision society, with war abolished? What ideas, what beliefs are you offering? What literature, what poetry, what art? What would you make of man, that intelligent, religious, justice-dispensing, free, individual and, for all of those very reasons, a warring creature? What would you make of the nation, that independent, outgoing, autonomous collective? What becomes of the human race in its eternal repose?

Proudhon was not satisfied with the superficial reasons by which wars are usually explained; he wanted to penetrate into the essence of the phenomenon. Another French author, François-Odysse Barot, reflecting on the philosophical problems of history, in particular on the paradoxes of war, noted:

Above all these numerous species of animals is man, whose destructive hand does not spare anything living. He kills to feed.He kills to clothe.He kills to dress up.He kills to attack.He kills to defend.He kills to educate.He kills to have fun.He kills to kill. An arrogant and formidable king, he needs everything, and nothing resists him. However, what creature would destroy the one who destroys them all?He himself?. It is upon man that the killing of man is entrusted.

In doing so, he points to the cause of wars, which lies in man himself. The illusions inspired by optimistic authors were not justified. The First World War, which the French called the Great War (La grande guerre), was a severe test for the participating countries, showing the depth of contradictions that became the real cause of the cataclysm, and gave food for more realistic assessments of this phenomenon.

Teilhard de Chardin, who participated in this war as a medic, in his free time from duty kept notes, which were later included in a collection under the general title, Writings in Times of War. In them, musings on various topics are interspersed with thoughts about the war. Life on the front line gave, strangely enough, rich food for philosophical reflections on war and peace. And it is quite natural, as it is difficult to separate one from the other. It is noteworthy that the observations of an eyewitness, a participant in the events and at the same time a thinker and philosopher give this collection a special value. In one of the essays in this collection, entitled, “Nostalgia of the Front,” he writes:

And so, when the desired peace of the nations (and of me first of all) comes, something like a light will suddenly be extinguished on earth. War had torn through the crust of banalities and conventions. A “window” had opened onto the secret mechanisms and deep layers of human becoming. A region had opened up where men could breathe air charged with heaven. With peace, all things will be covered by the veil of monotony and ancient pettiness.

He contrasts this with war, which reveals to the participants a superhuman reality:

Happy, perhaps, those whom death will have taken in the very act and atmosphere of war, when they are driven, animated by a responsibility, a conscience, a freedom greater than their own, when they are exalted to the very edge of the world—very close to God!

Thus, war becomes for him an encounter with the Absolute.

Henri Bergson, a representative of intuitionism and philosophy of life, published a text in November 1914 in the Bulletin des armées de la République, in support of France and its soldiers. In the first line, he declares that the end of battle is beyond doubt: Germany will fall. This is not really a foresight; it seems like a prophecy. Jean-Philippe Cazier evaluates this short address to the French soldier:

Thus, Bergson’s text carries out a series of shifts from the very beginning: history and politics overlap there with metaphysics, chance is shifted to a higher necessity, the singular is placed in the category of the political and the moral, as well as the vital, which embraces the individual and the subject, defined as the means of this order. The soldier becomes a kind of antique hero, and France becomes both a mythical and metaphysical figure.

The theme of war, although not explicitly expressed, is also constantly present in Bergson’s work, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, published in 1932. We find elements of nihilism and mysticism in the conceptualization of war Georges Bataille’s works Inner Experience, The Limit of the Useful. The theme of war in Marcel Proust acquires a real philosophical resonance in his work In Search of Time Lost. Philippe Mengue argues that Proust has two types of understanding of war: orthodox, integrated into the state apparatus, and the second, original, anticipating the views of Gilles Deleuze, showing the existence of “war machines,” independent and external to the state. The war also influenced the work of Jean-Paul Sartre, who participated in the Second World War. The period at the beginning of German hostilities against France was called the Phoney War (in French, “Funny” or “Strange War”). During this time, the French philosopher served as a private at a surveying station in the Vosges. There he had the opportunity to devote his leisure time to writing diaries in which he described the events around him. These entries were later published under the title, War Diaries: Notebooks from a Phoney War, 1939-40. The war was a turning point in Sartre’s destiny: a break with pacifism and a transition to active citizenship.The time spent in captivity and participation in the Resistance also played an important role in his philosophical formation. His diaries have a syncretic character. They contain observations, reasoning and inferences of a socio-philosophical nature. In War Diaries, Sartre applied the experience of his philosophical novel, Nausea (1938), where he had already used the genre of diary entries kept by the protagonist Antoine Roquentin. The influence of previous philosophical works is also evident. His observations on the “world of war” are not yet philosophy, but they are no longer mere eyewitness notes:

Man—I want to say, the enlisted herd? The messiness of war and the ambiguity of the warrior’s nature stem from the fact that man is treated simultaneously as a machine and as a psychic being sensitive to ceremony.
1) Like a machine. Like the worker, the soldier provides work. But it is unproductive work. Its ultimate purpose is to destroy, and when it is not actually destroying, it is nothing more than a simulacrum—firing blanks, big maneuvers, endless drills. So, you cannot rob him of his labor, because his labor doesnot provide value, in the Marxist sense. It is a naked effort. A soldier is not exploited, but even more than the worker, we maintain him like a machine.
2) Like a ceremonial being. Yesterday’s gathering emphasized “the high significance of saluting.” We see the conservative thinking process: the salute as ceremony. Then there is the search for a higher meaning. This is the thinking of Maistre and Bonald. We are bound by ceremonies and dances; we are captives of military politeness. The men of Verdun were forced to exercise during their rest periods, to “keep them well in hand.” Here, Alain’s analysis is perfectly accurate. It is obvious, however, that he is far from complete. The ambiguity is that command, in its representation of the enlisted herd, cascades endlessly from the material to the ceremonial and from the ceremonial to the material. And, of course, following the command in his representation of himself, the man himself jumps?

In his Dairies, Sartre’s reasoning about freedom, democracy, fascism, civilization, values is close to political philosophy:

One should not confuse the origins of this war, which may be clear to the historian, with the motivations that drive us to fight, which, as I indicated above, are unclear. Indeed, one should try to think of this war as an event, as a meaningful reality and as a value. It is precisely the value of this single war that is elusive.

The widespread assertion that the phenomenon of war is a common theme for twentieth-century intellectuals is well-founded. Many French writers, politicians, and thinkers wrote about this phenomenon. Among the famous names is Raymond Aron, Sartre’s friend at the École Normale Supérieure, who later became his opponent and ideological adversary. Aron’s versatile oeuvre did not ignore the fundamental theme of modernity—war. As a prominent theorist of international relations, Aron paid great attention to the phenomenon of war.

Among Aron’s significant works in this regard are, The Century of Total War (Les guerres en chaîne), Peace and War (Paix et guerre entre les nations), and Clausewitz: Philosopher of War (Penser la guerre, Clausewitz). In The Century of Total War, Aron emphasizes the idea of the ratio of quantity and quality in the process of creating a “critical mass.” Wars can reach it, thus creating the conditions for the emergence of a “chain reaction.” Thus, the First World War developed into the Second, and has the possibility of moving into the Third. Another of his works, Peace and War, published in 1962, is devoted to the justification of the theory of international relations. In an extensive article on the publication of this book, the French historian and political scientist Jean-Baptiste Duroselle elaborated on the contribution made by Aron to the development of the theory of international relations:

This abstract theory, which consists in conceptualization, presupposes, naturally, a second part: the search for determinants. Theory suggests what elements are to be analyzed; sociology influences these elements. The sociologist’s task “lies between that of the theorist and that of the historian.”The historian interprets the totality of the particular, the singular. The sociologist looks for judgments of “some universality.” So, there are two categories of possible determinants. One is physical or material: space, population, resources; the other is of a social nature: the nation and its regime; “civilization,” a phenomenon of the future whose relatively stable features (regularities) and transformations must be comprehended; and, finally, humanity, that is, a regularity related to the essence of human nature. The great problem relating to the last concept is to know whether man is aggressive by nature, whether there is biological aggressiveness or whether war is a consequence of the social condition. “The difficulty of peace refers rather to the human essence than to the animal beginning of man.”

In our opinion, this part of the task belongs not only, and not so much, to the competence of a historian or sociologist, but to the competence of a philosopher. Therefore, it is quite appropriate to talk about Aron’s contribution to the philosophy of war, but not only. At the same time, in his work he tries to reflect on the future of humanity. To an even greater extent, Aron reveals himself as a proponent of the philosophy of war in one of his later works, Clausewitz: Philosopher of War. André Glucksmann, who was influenced by his teacher during his tenure as an assistant to Aron, published his first book, Le discours de la guerre (A Discourse of War), in December 1967, which he characterized twenty years later as a mixture of philosophy, military strategy, nuclear deterrence and game theory. Nevertheless, it determined his interest in military issues, conflicts, the problem of violence, and terrorism.

At this time in the study of the phenomenon of war was developed polemology—”a new science of war”—in the words of creator Gaston Bouthoul. This field aroused interest in scientific and political circles in France. The French Institute of Polemology in Paris (Institut français de polémologie) has been under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of State for Scientific Research. Although Bouthoul believed that polemology was the sociology of war, this field was characterized by interdisciplinarity in the study of the phenomenon “war-peace.” Polemologists widely used heuristic possibilities of related disciplines. The fundamental works of the founder of polemology often contain reasoning that is philosophical in nature. This is noted by Alexis Philonenko in his Essais sur la philosophie de la guerre (Essay on the Philosophy of War), identifying the philosophy of war and polemology. He highlights the philosophical orientation of the reflections in the works of Bouthoul, who felt the urgent need to move away from the sociologism of his theory andtoward generalizations of a philosophical nature. A similar idea is formulated by the Romanian author Vasile Secăreş: “The ideas of the father of polemology, which are controversial, no doubt returning unexpectedly for our days to Durkheim’s sociologism, nevertheless have the merit of emphasizing the need for a holistic view of man and his past.”

Philosophical Paradigm for the Study of War

Since the emergence of the “philosophy of war,” its representatives have sought to consider war within the philosophical paradigm. Thus, the above-mentioned R. Henry in his essay tried to depart from the established standards of considering war from the point of view of military science. He wanted to give his study a philosophical character. His book in structure and style resembles the work of Carl von Clausewitz, On War. Henry combined philosophical and political reasoning about the phenomenon of war with military-strategic inferences. In a number of instances, he managed to find a connection between war and other areas of human activity. He points out that war “…is linked to politics and social science by its causes and results; it combines all the knowledge accumulated by mathematics, physics, and the natural sciences to increase man’s strength a hundredfold and to raise the intensity of his collective action.Finally, it gives rise to a real philosophy through the consideration of simple principles and natural laws with which the thinker can relate all the social, moral, and technical questions put at stake by these conflicts, in which the mind and vitality of the human race are periodically tempered.”

The Dutch ethnologist and sociologist,Sebald Rudolf Steinmetz, writing on the eve of the First World War, devoted his work (Die Philosophie des Krieges) to a philosophical consideration of war as a phenomenon inherent in the human race.In it, he analyzed the causes, consequences and trends of this phenomenon. Relying on a solid base of sources, he paid tribute to the contribution of researchers who devoted their research to the study of war. Among them he mentioned the names of French colleagues: Gustave Lagneau, Charles Létourneau, Ernest Lavisse, Alfred Nicolas Rambaud, Jean Lagorgette, Maurice Loir. Later, Emile Ollivier devoted his work to this problem. Following Loir’s example, he analyzed the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871 in his book, Philosophie d’une guerre: 1870 (The Philosophy of One War: 1870). In the context of sociology’s offensive against philosophy, the position of the philosophy of war was weakened. However, the outbreak of the First World War brought philosophy of war to the fore. Paul-Louis Landsberg published an article entitled, “Réflexions pour une philosophie de la guerre et de la paix” (“Reflections on the Philosophy of War and Peace”) in the October 1939 issue of Esprit, a journal aimed at French-speaking intellectuals. He writes at the very beginning of the article: “…philosophical thought must remain clear and pose problems in its own way.”

A great contribution to the formation of the philosophy of war was made by Charles de Gaulle. His political and philosophical thought covered the most diverse aspects of the development of the French state and nation. Military and national security issues were not the least important. His concept of “defense in all directions” was influenced by the French philosophers Jean Bodin and Montesquieu, who attached great importance to the geographical and psychological factors in the political development of nations. The concepts of “nation” and “national interest” became the axis of the policy pursued by de Gaulle during his presidency. French military policy became a derivative of these determinants. The problem of national interest remains very important to this day, although it is interpreted differently by some theorists (Raymond Aron, Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, Régis Debray, Thierry de Montbrial). The realistic approach of a number of French political thinkers, philosophers and sociologists to the interpretation of the concept of “universal values,” which under certain circumstances can cause conflict situations at different levels, deserves attention. The position of the famous French polemologist Julien Freund, who warned about the danger of fighting for mythical “universal values,” which he perceived as an acceptance of political dependence, is interesting in this regard.

Philosophy of War and Modernity

Years and centuries pass, but the relevance of the philosophy of war does not diminish. The French philosophical community has reacted vividly to the military conflicts and wars that periodically arise in various corners of our planet. Publications devoted to this problem are multiplying. Alexis Philonenko’s work, Essais sur la philosophie de la guerre is a large-scale work on the coverage of problems and personalities. The author refers to the concepts of such thinkers and philosophers as Machiavelli, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Saint-Just, Clausewitz, Proudhon, Tolstoy, and de Gaulle. The comparison of Tolstoy’s and Clausewitz’s views on war is certainly unexpected.

Philonenko’s reflections on the correlation between language and war, logic and strategy, respectively, are interesting. The philosophical tradition in discussing the phenomenon of war continues in the socio-political and professional philosophical thought of France, and the 21st century has convincingly proved it. The debate involves members of the public and professional philosophers. Lecture-debates such as those organized by the Philosophical Society of Nantes in 2003-2004 around the theme of “Philosophy in the Face of War” demonstrated the interest in the philosophical treatment of the phenomenon of war in relation to modernity. During the debate, presentations were made by well-known French philosophers J. Gobert, Thierry Ménissier, B. Benoit, and P. Hassner. In addition to the already mentioned experts on this problem, we should name P. Gallois, J. Guitton, D. David, Régis Debray, A. Joxe, Roger Caillois, E. Murez, P. Lelouch, C. Le Borgne, D. Herrmann and others. The philosophy of war has attracted the attention of many French philosophers. In particular, the work of Clausewitz was the subject of research both by Raymond Aron and René Girard.

The views of the French philosopher and political scientist Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer on the problems of modern wars are of interest. In his book, La guerre au nom de l’humanité (War in the Name of Humanity), he considers a whole set of problems affecting the basics of understanding the phenomenon of war. His multifaceted education (philosophy, law, political science) allows him to consider war in a political-philosophical way with the knowledge of legal issues. Former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine, in the “Introduction” to this book, notes his commitment to realism, a sense of proportion, balance, without any theoretical excesses or dogmatic simplifications. Early 2019 saw the publication of a book by the French engineer, philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy, La guerre qui ne peut pas avoir lieu: Essai de métaphysique nucléaire (The War That Cannot Happen: An Essay in Nuclear Metaphysics). It would seem to be a return to the old theme of the inadmissibility of nuclear war. One recalls the statements of progressive scientists who put forward pessimistic predictions of the fate of humanity after nuclear war, about the possibility of a “nuclear winter.” Dupuy is concerned that the world has come even closer to the brink of nuclear war than during the Cold War, but most people ignore the danger. He discusses the possibility of war breaking out uncontrollably regardless of the will of politicians, because of the triggering by “apocalyptic machines.” He raises in a new way the problem of the effectiveness and morality of nuclear weapons.

Conclusion

Given the presence of competing approaches to the cognition of war, there have been and are different points of view on the way to penetrate to the essence of this phenomenon. At the present stage, we can say that none of the paradigms has clearly proved its superiority in the realization of the epistemological goals set by the supporters of one or another direction. Apparently, mutual complementarity remains the fundamental principle of truth comprehension. In this respect, there are proposals to create a “new science of war.” Here, however, conceptual questions arise. One of them is the question of what a “new science” is. For example, the Russian military scientist Nikolai N. Golovin meant by this “the sociology of war,” as Gaston Bouthoul later did (though with significant inclusions of philosophy). Andrei E. Snesarev called the “philosophy of war” a universal tool for understanding the phenomenon of war. Gustave Le Bon considered war from the standpoint of psychology. The need in our time to create a “new science of war” requires combining different approaches, which can give a positive effect of understanding this phenomenon and the influence upon it.

This is all the more relevant now, since terrorism is gaining such a scale that a number of authors consider it as a kind of war. In the complex of methodological approaches to the study of wars and military conflicts, philosophy occupies an important place, as it perceives and conceptualizes this phenomenon in the most general way, which allows us to get close to its essence and find methods and means of counteraction. It is philosophy that can answer the following questions: what is war? What are the causes of wars? What is the relationship between human nature and war? Are there just wars, etc.?

The Department of the Philosophy of Politics and Law, in the Faculty of Philosophy, at the Lomonosov Moscow State University does a lot to study the phenomenon of war in keeping with the times: special courses devoted to this problem are offered, such as “The Philosophy of War” (since 2009), “Fundamentals of Polemology” (since 2016); numerous articles devoted to polemological problems have been published; members of the department have participated in various conferences on the problems of wars and military conflicts. One of the features of the departmental approach to the study of the phenomenon of war is the focus on the comparison of different points of view on this problem. As a result, we have formed the opinion that the concepts of French philosophers writing about war, in the paradigm of the “philosophy of war,” are characterized by originality and deserve careful study in the context of the dominance of Anglo-American theories.

Complete references are found in the Russian original.


Alexei V. Soloviev is Associate Professor in the Department of the Philosophy of Politics and Law, Faculty of Philosophy, Lomonosov Moscow State University.


Featured: Le siège de Paris (The Siege of Paris), by Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier; painted in 1870.


Why Israel Slaughters with Impunity

We all know now that Israel can do no wrong, for it is blessed with immunity for being the eternal victim. For Israel, Hitler is the gift that keeps on giving.

We all know that the USA is complicit in the crimes, rushing more and more PMGs to Israel so it will never run short in its precise bombing of important military targets, such as churches, hospitals, schools, mosques, universities, and ordinary homes and residential high-rises.

We all know that no matter how many UN “emergency” meetings are held to rein in Israel’s bloodlust, no matter how many resolutions voted on, the bombs will continue to fall, because Israel can kill as many Palestinians as it wants. There is no one to stop them.

No one seems to know, let alone care, that all the people of Gaza (2.2 million)—not just some—cannot get enough to eat each and every day, and mass starvation is happening right now.

The usual response among most people in the West is—both sides are the same (meaning, Israelis and Palestinians); they both lie and cheat and murder, it’s hard to know where the truth lies. We should worry about our own countries.

If that were true, then why is it that as of now there is only side that has had over 8,000 bombed to pieces? That has had killed nearly 30,000, and left 55,000 people injured? That has had the only place given them to live turned into a wasteland? Why is it that ordinary citizens of one side have been heavily armed with the latest weapons, while those of the other side buy what they can on the black market?

Why is it that one side is well-fed and will not be worrying about food and water, while the other side must starve it out?

How exactly are both sides the same? How is it that both sides lie, cheat and kill?

Then the argument is made that Palestine and Israel are so far away. Let them fight it out. I have other things to worry about.

If that were true, then what about February 2022, when the entire West went into a paroxysm of Russphobia (which still shows little signs of abating), and you couldn’t go to get some milk without being told to to help the poor Ukrainians who were bring “brutally invaded” by the “dictator” Putin, etc.

Why was Ukraine not so far away, then—but Palestine is now so far away? Why was it so easy to care for one side and hate the other in 2022, but now we must be neutral?

Where is the International Criminal Court, which could not issue an arrest warrant for President Putin fast enough, but which now can see no crimes being committed in Gaza by Netanyahu and his ilk?

Therefore, for many, who are told what to think, the razzia by Hamas on October 7th was an “unprovoked” terrorist attack, and everyone was told to “condemn Hamas.” Here was Israel, a sunny, happy land where the lion cannot help but lie down with the lamb and where live all those nice people closely related to stories in the Bible and who by default are all about peace and love. Then suddenly, on October 7th, for no reason whatsoever, the savages known as “Hamas” burst into this bit of paradise and went into a mad frenzy of murder and mayhem. The porn writers had a field day—and all their ghastly inventions are now piously and firmly believed and repeated.

What does it matter that of the 1100 or so (the exact number, for some reason, remains unclear) that died on October 7th, more than half were IDF who were killed in combat—and thus October 7 is a military defeat of Israel. What does it matter that much of the murder of civilians that day was done by the IDF in their attack helicopters and their tanks. What does it matter that the Israeli prisoners released by Hamas gave their captors high-fives and one even wrote a touching letter of thanks. Meanwhile, there are only horror stories of Palestinians who were in Israeli prisons, including Palestinian children. What does it matter that the IDF shot three of the hostages who had managed to escape from Hamas, thinking they were running to safety towards their own. If they had not escaped, they would still be alive today. What does it matter that IDF snipers can shoot any child they like.

All this raises a far more important problem that we must all deal with, for this problem is endemic to all Western societies, in which many of us live. And the problem is this in starkest terms: we are governed by a ruling mob (wrongly called “elite”) that operates according to its own “morality”—a “morality” that has nothing to do with that of their citizens. We can protest and shout and disapprove all we want, but their “morality” will suffer no compromise and will be implemented. They will continue to send bombs to Israel. They will continue to ignore the suffering and deaths of Palestinians. They will continue to see no crimes being committed by the IDF. They will bring no Israeli politicians to trial for crimes against humanity.

Here, it would be easy to wax conspiratorial. Suffice it to say that what we face are a bunch of powerbrokers who imagine International Relations to be the identification of the “villain;” our job is to play the lackeys and hate those we are told to hate (Hamas, Muslims, China, Iran and, of course, Russia), and we must coddle those that we are told to coddle (Ukrainians, Israelis). This sordid love-hate game is given the glittery wrapping of “civilization” vs. “barbarism”—for you see, it is highly civilized to give endless weapons to Netanyahu to slaughter Palestinians in their thousands. It is highly civilized to demand that Ukrainians die in the hundreds of thousands to keep us safe from Russian “barbarity.” Who finally wins in this game of love and hate?

Then, we are outraged when those that we are told to coddle face any sort of come-uppance—and we demand all-out savagery to defeat the “barbarians”—for it is justified to bomb an entire Palestinian refuge camp in order to kill one putative Hamas operative. There is nothing wrong with Zelensky sending child-soldiers and even pregnant women to die in the meat-grinder of war. It’s all money well spent.

Here, some will object that I am not pointing out the obvious: that it is Russia doing the killing. This objection holds little water, for Russia did not want this war; it had signed a good peace deal, which the warpig Boris Johnson quickly jettisoned to bring about a conflict to annihilate Russia (the very old pipe-dream of the West). War was forced upon Russia. And now Russia will finish this war on its own terms—no matter how many fantasies the West spins out about a “stalemate” and the next “Wunderwaffe.” Did we actually expect Russia to do nothing and just let the USA, NATO and their proxy (Ukraine) march all the way to Vladivostok? Russia also knows that any sort of ceasefire will only mean time for the West to rearm and have another go at Operation Barbarosa 3.0.

Likewise, Hamas did not act out of sheer barbarity on October 7th; rather, the attack of that day was a carefully planned and perfectly executed military operation—which was a response to the atrocities committed by Israel for so many years. Israel was defeated on October 7th—and thus quickly needed to gain the upper-hand by resorting to the tried-and-tested “system” of hyper victimology, complete with shameless theatrics.

Invoked as well was the old trick of equating the criticism of Israel as “antisemitism”—a charge that puts the fear of God into any self-respecting Westerner. Heaven forefend that I be called an “antisemite.” Ergo… what Palestinians? What bombing of the innocents? See, I’m not “anti-semitic…”

So, why does Israel slaughter Palestinians with impunity? Because Western powerbrokers and their ruling class have chosen Israel to play the role both of victim and “hero” of civilization. To that end, Palestinians (and Muslims generally) have been assigned the role of “villain,” who can only move from one outrage to the next atrocity. Just imagine the negative press if Zionism were a Muslim invention. In this way, “our values,” the “international rules-based order,” Western “civilization” are stood up against “barbarism.” When Israel kills babies, it kills for our good, for our “civilization,” for “our values.” We, in the West, are the beneficiaries of the “heroic” slaughter by the gallant IDF. Just as all those dead Ukrainians have let us keep our “democracy” and our “freedom.”

How can anyone object to dead barbarians, no matter how tiny? Perhaps a better question to ask—what have we become?


C.B. Forde writes from rural Canada.


Vietnam and USA: Old Enemies, New (Possible) Friends against China

The global push of Beijing is a major reshuffle for the international community, with unexcepted and, till now, unthinkable repositioning dynamics, approaching even old enemies, more and more worried of plans and actions of China.

On 10 September of 2023, US and Vietnam have agreed to elevate their diplomatic relations to the highest level by signing a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” agreement, which put Washington together with PRC (China), Russia, ROK (South Korea), and soon, India. Considering that for Vietnam this kind of framework is the higher level in its foreign relations, this step represents the culmination of a historic shift between both signatories.

2023 marks fifty years since the closing of one of the international chapters that transformed global reality; 1973 marked a turning point in the conception of the foreign policy of the hegemonic power of the 20th Century, the US suffered a disruption of the global map of its interests and relations of forces between international powers.

With the signing of the Paris Agreement between US and Vietnam in 1973, hostilities between both parties ceased, even there was not an official beginning, but a slow escalation from Washington initiated with the deployment of the 342 advisers of MAAG (Military Assistance Advisory Group), Vietnam in 1955, which replaced MAAG, Indochina, set up in 1945 in order to assist the French forces against the communist- backed Vietminh uprising and worked till the signature the Geneva accords of 1954 (2023 saw also the death, at 100, the Washington-maker of this agreement, Henry Kissinger). The withdrawal of the US forces from Vietnamese territory meant the growth in power of the regime to the communist spectrum (represented in the war by North Vietnam), whose greatest supporters were USSR and PRC. In this way, what for the Communist Party of Vietnam was an unprecedented victory (even obtained with an enormous human cost for Hanoi), for the opposing side marked a turning point in the military supremacy self-conception.

The US was affected not only by its international profile, but also by its internal resilience, due to the deep divisions that the Vietnamese conflict generated among the country’s society, population and culture. With the development of the Cold War, the relations between both actors were characterized by maintaining a certain distance and focusing on their most immediate issues. For US, the confrontation with the USSR and developing ties with PRC were a high priority. For the Vietnamese perspective, the consolidation of its state structure and the forging of alliances took up most of the efforts of the government of Hanoi for years.

However, the present situation is a deeply different from this context. Vietnam is today an emerging regional power with a developing economy, important signs of strength and a foreign policy dominated by its neighborly relations, mainly with PRC, with which it shares around 1,400 kilometers of border. In addition, it plays a fundamental role in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), a very important platform for Vietnam in terms of the economy and relations with its Asian neighbors in terms of security, finance or foreign trade (not yet for defense, but there are the first steps in this direction as well). Finally, in 1995 diplomatic relations between Vietnam and US were normalized. On the other hand, Washington is witnessing a crucial moment for its global hegemonic position while having to address countless internal challenges, from high public debt to the questioning of its social model, face a competitor that poses one of the most complex and difficult challenges to its international dominance since the Cold War such is PRC. Far from the confrontational models of the last century, the current competition between both powers is characterized by being fought in a totally broader and interconnected worldwide scenario, where military force has been transformed in more lethal and mobile, while new areas of confrontation have emerged, such as cyberspace and outer space, without naming the classical search of influences in other countries, the brutal trade competition, the scientific rivalry and the setup of renewed and new international and regional organizations. Thus, global dynamics have been strengthening PRC’s role as the main rival for the US and many other states. Vietnam, for its geostrategic collocation, see the important changes ongoing in the Indo-Pacific with growing concern. The assertive stand of Beijing put Washington and Hanoi in a common front in this scenario: counteracting China’s weight and push in the region. Because of the above, their relationship, historically marked by conflict, evolved to reach high levels of cooperation in economic and security matters.

After fifty years of the Paris Agreement and twenty-eight of the normalization of their diplomatic ties, on September 10, 2023, US and Vietnam raised their relations to the highest level that the system of foreign relations of Hanoi sets. This new framework of cooperation is reflected in greater cooperation in areas as basic as science and technology, climate change or trade. However, it is necessary to highlight a key aspect for the role that both actors play in the region: cooperation in security and defense. Since Presidents Obama and Truong Tan Sang signed a strategic partnership agreement in 2013—a step prior to reaching the highest level of ties sealed in September—relations between the US and Vietnam have been marked by deepening in all aspects. Currently, the US has become one of Vietnam’s main partners in terms of security: since 2017 it has invested more than 100 million dollars in military aid for the country through the FMF (Foreign Military Financing) Program, aimed at strengthening its defensive and military capabilities. Likewise, the Obama Administration lifted the arms embargo on Vietnam in 2016, the year after which the US permanently export to Hanoi defense material worth more than $30 million annually. Added to this are the 108 million dollars in products and services that the US has received from Vietnam since that year. Another reflection of the improvement in relations in this area was the visit to Vietnam in March 2018 by the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson: the first of it in more than forty years. Later, in March 2020, it was the turn of another aircraft carrier. The improvement of connections in military and defense matters is also reflected in Vietnam’s participation in the GOPI (Global Peace Operations Initiative), established by US to contribute to the international missions of the UN. The development of relations in the field of defense and security is manifested in the perception of Washington by the Vietnamese society has today. According to ‘The State of South Asia 2023’ survey (a poll survey organized by the ‘ASEAN Studies Centre (ASC) at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute’), almost three quarter of the Vietnamese trusts the US as a guarantor of international peace and security with little bit more than ten percent do not (sic!).

On the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Strategic Partnership Agreement, both parties have recognized the interdependence of their relations by expanding the areas of cooperation (investment, management of the legacy of war, promotion of security, promotion of prosperity, crisis climate, health cooperation and management of the Mekong River). This expansion reflects the positive status of the relations between Hanoi and Washington.

​Vietnam: Bamboo Diplomacy and its Obliged Ties with China

The foreign policy of Hanoi has been marked by a peculiar approach, applying Marxist-Leninist principles (an essential ideological axis for the country) to foreign policy. The combination of firmness in ideological elements and the required flexibility in diplomatic methods, set up the so-called “bamboo diplomacy”, putting together the strong roots of the ideology and the flexible stems of the methods.

However, the aforementioned foreign policy is being challenged by regional drive, strongly marked by geopolitical competition, led by China and its ambitions. Along these lines, Vietnam and its society are aware of the threat posed by Beijing, and Hanoi had ties with China that are very difficult to break, even if, as the above-mentioned survey states, more than three quarter of the population distrust China. This situation run from the historical rivalry to the recent crisis, worsened by the claims of Beijing to around 85% of the South China Sea, and which affects multiple countries, including Vietnam. For China, the control of the aforementioned area is vital for its survival and hegemonic plans: without it, Beijing consider that the naval projection capability of the US would block the access and control of key points for the national supply, like the Strait of Malacca. The magnitude of the issue for China is reflected in an increased actions to undermine any initiative that poses a threat to her interest and priorities.

For Vietnam those claims means that the country will remains sea locked, without access to international maritime spaces and this is a not acceptable situation and the most severe attempt to its national sovereignty. The claims of China existed since years, but the tensions raised in recent times (see the regional destabilizing effect of the claims; Philippine and Chinese coast guards are in face-off situations in South China Sea since weeks). The claim of sovereignty of the Paracelsus and Spratly islands, the implementation in 2014 of a Chinese oil platform in the waters of the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) of Vietnam or the maritime clashes between both nations motivated by drilling activities carried out by Vietnam in 2017 exemplifies the confrontation between both geopolitical strategies. However, the relationship between Vietnam and China, more than a threat, entails a series of historical and economic ties. To begin with, both countries have a similar historical evolution: their respective systems, based on communism, entered a stage of financial openness and iron fist in internal repression, that led them to political and economic dualism. On the other hand, it is worth highlighting key differences in terms of governance. For example, the secretary-general of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nguyen Phu Trong, is a different figure from the head of state, Vo Van Thuong, while in China power is concentrated in one person, Xi Jinping. Giving the relevance of the ideological dimension for Vietnam, the Communist Party still have a pivotal role in the country’s policy making, but the state keeps a separate nature, a counterbalance the power of the party; this, avoiding the disfunctions that emerge more and more in China, which appear increasingly in trouble to manage the challenges of sophisticated society with the total overlap between state and communist party.

Despite the above-mentioned problems, old and new, China remains Vietnam’s first economic partner, where around 40% of its imports come from. Through the signing of more than thirteen economic agreements, Vietnam has become China’s sixth largest trading partner. Consequently, the economic aspect is a fundamental link in these relations, which places Vietnam in a complex position in the face of commercial and geopolitical imbalance. As a sign of their wish to keep as possible good relationship in this area, in October 2022 the Vietnamese President was the first foreign leader to travel to Beijing after the designation of Xi Jinping’s as supreme leader of the country’s third term. Given the situation described, Vietnam has decided to establish some distance with its partner in foreign policy, while seeking not to take actions that could irritate the important neighbor. This ambivalence has been put into practice in the foreign policy of Vietnam through the principle of the “three nos”: no to foreign military bases, no to forming part of military alliances and no to supporting a country in struggle with another. This principle once again reflects the character of ‘bamboo diplomacy’, which is committed to sovereignty and international peace while granting a certain margin of action to the country in its relations with other states, covering itself from any accusation by China regarding its links with other nations in the military field. Now, Vietnam is aware of the threat that China represents in the region and, directly, to its relations. Consequently, Vietnam has begun to promote certain agreements with other actors that seek to serve as a counterweight to the influence of the PRC; and in the US, despite a controversial past, it has found a partner that may support the re-opening of an old framework. To face China, one of the most mentioned geopolitical concepts in the Cold War has been put back on the table: the policy of containment. For Vietnam, the rapprochement with the US, indirectly, try to compensate the decisive alignment between Moscow and Beijing especially after the beginning of the war in Ukraine; this major shift worried Vietnam for a possible weakening of Russian support vis-à-vis the Chinese push and the need of an alternate security provider and guarantor become an imperative for Hanoi.

This situation has many points in common with the one that affect India, once strong partner with Moscow in anti-Chinese drive; but now the axis between Russia and China forced New Delhi in re-orient its strategy in double track, reinforcing its strategic autonomy and getting closer to US, Australia, France and Japan; this without entering in direct, major, confrontation with Beijing, giving that China remains the most important economic partner of India, and co-member of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and BRICS.

In the light of enhanced regional (and transregional) solidarity policy, Vietnam has repatriated over 1,000 citizens from Myanmar due to looming crisis there, as well as helping certain Egyptians, Malaysians and Singaporeans leave the country amid the conflict between states forces and the government ones.

The Return of the Old: Towards a New Containment

The origins of the containment policy date back to the ‘long telegram’ written in 1946 by the then US ambassador to USSR, George F. Kennan. This notion became the center of the political debate in the following decades after the publication of “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” in ‘Foreign Affairs’. Based on the need to contain Soviet expansion through the so-called spheres of influence, this policy found its motivation in the reality exposed by Kennan’s text, where it was highlighted that the idiosyncrasies of the Soviet communist system would not allow peaceful coexistence with the American political ideology and praxis.

US structured the world into Moscow and Washington zones of influence on which its foreign and security policies protected their stability and interests. The conceptual framework that this policy provided for the development of both political and military resistance to Soviet-led expansionism is fundamental to understanding US actions throughout the Cold War. Without being exempt from criticism, the containment policy was shaped by the different ideological currents that marked each US Administration. Under its protection, important events occurred that still have a fundamental weight on the international stage, such as the creation of NATO in 1949 or the Vietnam War, which ended in 1973. Therefore, when talking about expansion intentions Chinese in the Indo-Pacific and the rest of the world, numerous political analysts and scholars have rescued the USSR-focused terminology and approaches of containment and shifted it to the confrontation of the challenges that the PRC poses both regionally and globally to US hegemony.

For Washington, the Indo-Pacific megaregion is a fundamental point for its foreign policy. The US foreign strategy is aware of the importance of China’s push actions in the region, as well as its ambitions and already known intentions. Consequently, Washington has found a possible partner in Vietnam. In this framework, Hanoi is aware about the importance of using multiple approach to its strategy, seeking not to raise tensions with Beijing and not miss the opportunity to have the deterrent element that Washington represents.

Giving the relevance of the sub-region, the US is working to build strong relationships with Southeast Asian countries that also find common ground in this endeavour. Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines (all ASEAN member states) are among the nations with which Washington has signed specific security and defense cooperation agreements. As example, along the same lines is the renewal of defense cooperation between the US and the Philippines after both parties showed their concern about the PRC’s actions in the South China Sea, which caused serious concerns for Manlia. Therefore, the Chinese pressure is evident, and the sub-region’s countries are fully aware of it, even though they keep strong economic ties with Beijing, they seek and find in the US a partner in the defense of their stability, despite the economic partnership with Washington is much less attractive.

Another element of high importance is security and defense cooperation between US and Vietnam, especially in naval dimension, as it is strongly related to the joint objective of encircling China by sea (someone could say that Washington looks for a ‘sea’ containment), and this a critical point because the Vietnamese Navy and Coast Guard are not especially strong. In its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement, the US mentions that it will pay special attention to strengthening Vietnam’s naval capabilities in terms of security and defense so that the country has the necessary resources to enforce international law and its sovereignty.

The above-mentioned Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program includes the progressive increase in the US Government’s investment in this sector, which is so elemental at a geopolitical level for both parties. As the case of Vietnam focuses, the essential axis of the program is to support, transfer, reinforce and promote the resources of the country’s Navy and Coast Guard supporting her stance in the South China Sea. Along these same lines, Vietnamese Navy has participated since 2018 in the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific), the largest naval military exercise in the world, which the US holds biannually with its allies.

​For its part, Vietnam has its own strategy regarding its relations in the region, whose ultimate goal is to contain Chinese actions. Unlike the US and its containment policy, which forces it to choose those points where it can exert pressure on its rival to reduce its influence, Vietnam is naturally part of the Indo-Pacific countries that form a counterweight to Chinese expansion, as happens to India, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand.

In common Washington and Hanoi have points but also differences vis-à-vis in the use of the containment policy in this specific context. While US make efforts into building a politico-military-economic fence around China, Vietnam is more linked to the dynamics of its regional alliances and first ASEAN (except for Cambodia and Laos, openly considered puppet states of Beijing, and Myanmar/Burma, considered under heavy influence of China).

Whether or not they share a vision of the application of the containment policy, the ultimate goal is valid for the strategic objectives of both Vietnam and the US trying to reduce the influence and expansion of China in Southeast Asia. In the case of the US, this objective is vital for the preservation of its regional first, and secondly, the global hegemony; for Vietnam, it is a matter of political independence and survivability.

Ties and Obstacles

The broadening and deepening of the bilateral relations between Vietnam and US mean leaving the past behind, but there are still points of friction. Firstly, is the ideological distance between both countries, but their common needs have managed to overcome it to make cooperation possible. In this sense, the development of this new stage in US-Vietnamese relations can be reflected with another global actor of high importance and influence and, of course, a vital enemy for the Washington: Russia.

Vietnam has maintained a special relationship with Moscow, starting from ideological brotherhood, but also the support of Russia during the prolonged military efforts, first against France and then against US, with more than 350 million dollars annually during the period, without mentioning the support provided in 1979, during the Chinese invasion.

That connection has not been lost, since the historical ties have been maintained to this day, Russia continues to be a fundamental partner for Vietnam: it is its main importer of weapons (despite the problems originated by the needs originated by the war in Ukraine) and a key player in energy supplies. For Moscow, Vietnam is a key due to its role in maritime trade and in the projection of power in the South China Sea (and from there to the Pacific, Singapore straits and Eastern Indian Ocean). This access provides Russia with an important presence in regional dynamics.

In this context, it is plausible that Vietnam does not reject totally its relationship with Russia, considering it a key pillar in its foreign policy. As an example of the needs of Vietnam to keep a wide window of dialogue with Moscow, Hanoi is one of the few countries that has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the UN General Assembly, which represents a point of friction with Washington. Said that, Vietnam monitor with silent restlessness the rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing would affect her security.

However, the strong economic ties with China, are other elements that, as above mentioned, oblige Vietnam to not extremize the relations. Through the export of microchips, semiconductors, integrated circuits, etc., China provides Vietnam with everything necessary to achieve technological capacity at the level of global demands. Finally, despite the internal problems, the unstoppable growth of Chinese military capabilities constitutes a deterrent against the enlargement and the deepening of the military alliance with the US.

There is no doubt that Vietnam does not want to be a satellite country of Beijing. Hanoi’s strategic autonomy requires the liberation from any ties and the ambitions of the neighboring country. For its part, Russia, aware that its relationship with Hanoi is fundamental and requires attention and care, is also aware of China’s strength in Southeast Asia, so it cannot be of great tool to Vietnam either.

Consequently, even if the alliance between the US and Vietnam can be considered fundamental for the region and for the geopolitical strategies of both actors, it takes place in a framework where the possibility of dangerous escalation is very easy a tactical error can lead to an escalation of tensions that is difficult to control afterwards.

Conclusion

Geopolitical trends determine the importance of Southeast Asia in the XXI Century. Any actor who seeks to occupy a global hegemonic position must have a strong presence in the area and to reflect his geopolitical interests with his actions in the region. The historical tour of the relationships between US and Vietnam, two antagonistic actors, is understandable even if it is unusual. Both were able to overcome their interests thanks to a geopolitical analysis with a key common element: holding the expansion and ambitions of China in Southeast Asia. In this context, the continuing and growing friendship US-Vietnamese relations gain greater significance for the international community, since the two parts represent a counterweight to China, which the rest of the actors in the region can benefit. The growing level of commitment with US implies for Vietnam the adoption of a geopolitical focus in accordance with the traditional principles of its external politics, considering this in balance with China and, Russia ASEAN, and then Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand with which it shares the goal of safeguarding national interests in front of Beijing objectives. Directly or indirectly, the geopolitical dynamics of Southeast Asia imply the intention of Washington to generate a space of containment for China’s expansion and the association of Vietnam is vital for this objective. Consequently, the intensity of the Washington-Hanoi relationships will have a decisive impact on the Chinese dynamics and ambitions which look not only in Southeast Asia, but also reflect in an uncertain global scenario in the coming decades.


Enrico Magnani, PhD, is a retired UN official and expert in military history and international politico-military affairs.


Should Turkey and the Arab States Continue to Do Nothing?

For once, Mendelssohn addresses a warning to Turkey and to the Arab states, having now, on all-too many occasions, attempted to shake sense into his self-professed “co-religioniaries” in the Jabotinski state.

A Bright and Bountiful Future for All?

(NB: Iran is a case apart. As the main target of Anglo-American hatred, she has no option other than to protect her people and ancient culture against a fire-storm which would set off World War III).

Back to Turkey and the Arab states.

Sackcloth and Ashes—An Excellent Disguise?

In their lamentable majority, the latter’s elites are rentiers and bazaris, dependent on Anglo-American largesse, gliding along in the belief that their foreign investments will sleep soundly, provided they play both sides against the middle. Discreetly, one safeguards all financial, commercial and of course arms deals with the Jabotinski state and its masters in England and the USA, while beating one’s breast and tearing one’s hair whenever the extinction of the Palestinians be raised in a public forum.

Blind Greed

Once exterminated the “Useless Eaters” of Gaza, What Next, sleek elites? Have you but thought of that?

Armed to the gills by the USA, the Jabotinski state’s armies are about to occupy the entire “ex” Palestinian coast line and seize the Palestinian off-shore oil fields, yielding limitless access to fuel, before pounding into dust the indigenous peoples still clinging to East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

What was, in 1948, merely a nasty Anglo-American bridgehead, has grotesquely swollen to become a slime-mould platform, borderless and bristling with every advanced weapons system on the planet including nuclear missiles, all of which point straight towards the Arabo-Muslim world.

The Jabotinski state is about to hatch the serpent’s egg: a gigantic military platform open to the sea, dripping with oil, and answerable solely to that state’s “Aryan” masters.

If, for the sake of their well-fed elite’s creature comforts, Turkey and the Arab states continue to tolerate that, I prefer not to think of the consequences.