Courtesy of niccolo.substack.com
“Fuck it!” Russia’s Final Break With the West
US-Russian joint tactical victory, European and Ukrainian defeat
Celebrations have been taking place in the self-declared Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in what is almost universally recognized Ukraine. Having declared independence eight years ago, events have now forced Russia’s hand in which these two nascent entities are now recognized by Moscow, with all the protections that come with it. One cannot help but understand why these people are celebrating.
Another celebration is taking place in the USA. The State Department has achieved its main objective of seeing Nordstream 2 put on ice. American LNG producers are now popping champagne bottles as they can envision huge stacks of cash to be made by overcharging Europeans desperate for gas. The Military-Industrial Complex is chuffed as well, as the arms will continue to pour into Ukraine and into the NATO armies in its periphery.
How did we get here?
Despite assurances to the contrary, NATO is not a ‘defensive organization’. Even though American memories are short, people elsewhere remember the bombing campaign against Serbia, and the removal of Gaddafi from power in Libya. What NATO is in fact is the military arm of US hegemony, a hegemony that has seen it expand eastwards through Europe, right up to Russia’s very own borders.
“Don’t individual states reserve the right to enter into alliances with those they see fit, Niccolo?” Of course they do. But not all countries are islands, and most countries have neighbours. And not all neighbouring states are created equal, and they have their own national security concerns and interests. This is the case with Russia.
Russia has been invaded several times from the west since Napoleon first crossed the border to enter Imperial Russian soil in 1812. Every time since, western powers have been forced out, but have left behind devastation in their wake. This explains why Russia has sought buffers to its west ever since, with the largest buffer being its puppet regimes in eastern and central Europe during the Cold War.
NATO, originally set up to counter the USSR’s expansion into Europe, was left without a raison d’etre after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR. Nevertheless, it pressed on eastwards, and thanks to the CIA and MI6, effected Colour Revolutions to put into power friendly regimes that sought NATO membership in places like Tbilisi and Kiev. Where Colour Revolutions weren’t necessary due to historical grievances against Russia, NATO missile systems pointed at Russia have been set up (Romania and Poland).
For Russia, the nightmare scenario of dismemberment from the west is now tangible. You may disagree with their perspective, but what is important is HOW they view the situation. If you can’t understand their views, it is therefore impossible to talk to them, unless you are only willing to lecture to them or threaten them.
And lectures on democracy and threats to their economy and existence are all that have come out of the west towards Russia recently.
Ukraine’s Geostrategic Importance
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor, wrote in his vital work “The Grand Chessboard” that without Ukraine, Russia goes from a Eurasian power to simply Asian, i.e. a world power demoted to that of a regional one. Since Boris Yeltsin left power, US foreign policy goals sought to detach Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence. Why?
Not just for the reason Brzezinski illustrated, but because of a concept known as ‘nuclear primacy’. Nuclear primacy is the condition in which a nuclear power can defeat another nuclear power by eliminating its nuclear weapons before they can be launched against them. The reason why NATO ABM sites have been built in Poland and Romania is to push their reach closer to Russia’s European borders, the part where most Russian citizens live. This already increases the threat to Russia immensely, and has informed their military tech research and manufacturing to focus on anti-missile defence and away from conventional threats.
By capturing Ukraine and incorporating it into NATO, Ukraine could then potentially serve as a much, much closer missile launching site for NATO missiles pointed at Russia. The Ukrainian border is less than 500km from Moscow, for example. Can you blame the Russians for freaking out? I certainly can’t.
For Russia, Ukraine is an existential matter. For the USA, it is only an asset that can be easily sacrificed for the greater objective of surrounding and neutralizing Russia so as to achieve nuclear primacy and ensure is own hegemony.
You Should Be Nice to Your Neighbours, Especially When They Are Much More Powerful Than You Are
Ukraine has the right to rule over its territory as it sees fit. This is called sovereignty. Ukraine also has the right to seek alliances to maintain that sovereignty and to protect its own perceived interests.
Theory is great, but it is only theory. Reality does tend to intrude though. In this case, the Ukrainians have made a mess out of their post-Maidan revolution by exacerbating Moscow’s natural paranoia through its constant requests to join NATO. By doing this, Ukraine antagonizes its much more powerful neighbour which sees itself under existential threat from its smaller neighbour’s invitations to host a hostile organization on its soil. It is therefore only natural that Russia would act to neutralize this existential threat, because it can and it showed in 2014 (and again this week) that it will.
Much like how the USA would never tolerate a Chinese client regime in Mexico with nukes pointed at it, the Russians have shown that they won’t tolerate NATO in Ukraine. For the past few months, head Russian diplomat Lavrov has patiently explained to the West that NATO in Ukraine is a non-starter for them, and that they will take actions to ensure that their national security interests are protected. These security interests come at the cost of Ukrainian sovereignty over Crimea in 2014, and now over the Donbass as of yesterday.
What Are the Ukrainians Thinking?????
Everyone wishes to maximize their own autonomy, and Ukrainians aren’t that different in that respect. The calculation that Ukrainians have made in the past and continue to make going forward is that by tying themselves to the world’s superpower, the USA, they will protect their own state and sovereignty, even if they have to make some painful concessions to the Americans (such as economic and political reforms, and cultural reforms like gay pride parades in this very conservative country). Therefore, get away from Russia > being under the American thumb. The Ukrainians took one look at their neighbours in Poland, Lithuania, and Romania and saw that NATO membership protected them from unwanted Russian advances. They also saw that Georgia was partitioned in between the two para-states known as Abkhazia and South Ossetia, with rump Georgia, a state that wasn’t under the NATO umbrella.
Ukraine’s calculation failed because it didn’t take into account three important points:
- historical-cultural ties between it and Russia
- Ukraine’s sheer size and geographic position
- the fact that the two points above make Ukraine, unlike the other states listed, an existential matter to Russia
There is a fourth point which completely tanks Ukraine’s position:
President Joe Biden has consistently and loudly stated that the American and NATO calvaries are not coming to Ukraine’s rescue if the Russians do invade. The USA, the prime mover in this crisis, is openly stating that it is willing to sacrifice Ukraine and Ukrainian lives for its own larger objectives.
Ukrainian President Shecky Greenberg is fucked beyond belief. I strongly doubt he is as passionate about Ukrainian independence as a Banderista from West Ukraine, but I don’t doubt that he does harbour some desire to see his country free from Russian control. The problem is that he has zero room for maneuver, caught between a Russia breathing down his neck, and a USA that has him by the balls as he is listed in corruption indexes as having overseas accounts with money thieved from his own country’s coffers, no doubt via his sponsor, Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky. He has to dance to the USA’s tune, or it’s all over him. Still, he deserves a little bit of respect since he has been actively pushing back against the US Goverment and media’s Peter Cries Wolf act.
Since the 2014 Maidan Revolution, Ukraine has seen the following happen to it:
- Crimea annexed by Russia
- Donbass now effectively Russian
- Russia stating that Donbass extends into presently-held Ukrainian territory
- Millions of Ukrainians fleeing/emigrating Ukraine
- Collapsed economy
- Economic and political reforms stalled
- Collapse in birth rate (happening everywhere, of course)
What has Ukraine gained since the Maidan revolution? This is a fair question to ask. Another fair question to ask is “how are you going to get your occupied territories back, since doing so means war with Russia?”
The most important question to ask Ukrainians is: “In light of all the things that you have lost and in light of the USA openly saying that they will not defend you, is ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ really worth it, considering that you might even lose more than you have already?
Ukraine is disposable in American eyes. That warmongering bitch Vicki “Fuck the EU” Nuland (she runs Russia policy in the US State Department) must be laughing her fat and disgusting ass off at how stupid the Ukrainians are to willingly sacrifice themselves for her project to surround, neutralize, and dismember Russia. All is going according to plan.
This crisis was not about Ukraine. Ukraine only provided the setting for which this crisis is playing itself out. The point of this crisis, from the US perspective, is to effect a final cut off of Russia from Europe economically, so as to reduce Russian influence and increase US dominance on the continent, while cashing in by way of LNG exports to replace Russian gas deliveries. That’s it. The USA is more than happy in seeing Kiev occupied by Russian forces, because it kills the NordStream 2 pipeline, and opens up new business for American LNG companies, as well as bigger business for US arms exporters.
The ideal situation to them is to see the Russians invade, overextend themselves, and fall into an Afghanistan-type quagmire, in which Ukraine is set ablaze, and Ukrainians, backed by massive arms deliveries from the USA, engage in a partizan/mujahidden guerrilla war with Russian forces to drain Russia and to embarrass it. Who cares how many Ukrainian cities are levelled, how many civilians die? It will all be pinned on Vladimir Putler anyway, at the Hague War Crimes Tribunal that they dream of in their sleep.
The USA already dominates Europe by way of NATO and trade agreements, its scheisskultur permeates much of the continent, whether through popular culture or though academic trends such as wokeness. Why not solidify that control by way of controlling its energy sector as well?
US media has made a fool out of itself, as have American talking heads…..but this is what they are there for. Without any accountability for their words and actions, they have every reason to continue lying to us as they have done now for decades in service to their foreign policy designs. Take a look at this one:
Nordstream 2 represented a nightmare scenario for US policy planners: Russia and Germany engaging in cooperation outside of US monitoring. With Russia turning towards China, the apocalyptic vision of a China-Russia-Germany alliance begins to unfold in Washington, DC. Not allowed!
Europe: Led By Cowards
Poland, Finland, the Baltic States, Romania, and others all have their historical grievances towards Russia, which must be understood and accepted. Only time heals these deep wounds. Aside from that, Europe’s interests should be in tapping into Russia’s massive natural resources, and to trade with the USA, China, and others. Instead, Europe is once again paying the price for Amerian foreign policy as the US does very little trade with Russia, while Europe does quite a lot!
The Americans are happy to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, and to sanction Russia to the last European with five Euros in his pocket. It bears the brunt of sanctions against Russia just like it has with sanctions on Iran.
Much was made of Macron’s shuttle diplomacy these past few weeks, but the Russians saw right through his ‘good cop’ act, which ran in tandem with the US ‘bad cop’. They entertained his overtures due to diplomatic protocol, but that was it. Macron wasted his time and our time.
The Brits continue to yap like the American poodles that they are.
The Germans are the sad figures here. Putting Nordstream 2 on ice due to this crisis politicizes the pipeline, where Scholz’s predecessors insisted on it being independent of politics altogether. Even though it is ‘temporarily’ suspended, this politicization makes it now a white elephant. The Germans are going to have to figure out how to import power in light of decommissioning their nuclear reactors and swearing off of coal. Germany’s Greens are, of course, detached from reality, thinking that they can get renewables to fill in the coming gap:
Cutting itself off completely from Russian gas would leave a big hole in the market that in the first instance would “drive prices higher”, said Habeck of the Green party.
However Germany’s power demands could be “compensated” with other energy sources and suppliers, including an accelerated renewables push set out by the government, he said.
Germany has chosen a negative economic impact, including more inflation, to achieve what, precisely? To make the USA even happier?
Russia Has Had Enough
The Russians have insisted that NATO in Ukraine is a red line for them that cannot be crossed. The USA has called their bluff and Putin is now beginning to show his hand.
Despite Ukraine being technically ineligible for NATO entry due to having border disputes with Russia (Crimea, Donbass), it has undergone a ‘stealth NATO’ in recent years, in which US/UK and other advisors are training Ukrainian forces, and are arming them as well. The Russian fear is that they will use this to attack the inferior Donbass forces, creating a massive refugee crisis for Russia, and a loss of face for Putin.
Up until two days ago, Russia has insisted that the Donbass remain a part of Ukraine, but that its incorporation be guided by the Minsk Agreement. Minsk was dead a long time ago, as Ukraine refused to talk to the separatists, but is now de jure dead as Russia has recognized the two breakaway republics there. By doing this, Russia is creating client states like it already has in Georgia and Moldova. These serve not just as tampon zones, but allow Russia to negate formal entry of these countries into antagonistic organizations.
The precedent for recognizing these breakaway republics was set by the USA when it detached Kosovo from then Yugoslavia, and recognized its Universal Declaration of Independence a few years later. The 1999 NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia is what turned Russia away from the West, famously symbolized by then Premier Primakov ordering his jet to turn back to Moscow. It was at this point that the USA tore up international law. Albanian freedom from Serbian rule in Kosovo has now come at the cost of the loss of Crimea and Donbass to Russia.
Vladimir Putin’s speech on Monday reflected the exasperation with the West and the USA in particular. The most important highlights were:
- The USA is agreement incapable (meaning it will constantly renege as it changes administrations)
- Russia expects sanctions no matter what it does
- The USA does not respect Russian national security concerns
So for Russia, this is apparently an existential crisis. “Many Ukrainian airfields are located close to our borders. NATO tactical aircraft stationed here, including carriers of high-precision weapons, will be able to hit our territory to the depth of the Volgograd-Kazan-Samara-Astrakhan line. The deployment of radar reconnaissance assets on the territory of Ukraine will allow NATO to tightly control the airspace of Russia right up to the Urals.”
The complete rejection of all Russian points by the USA seems to have now cemented the final victory in Moscow of the Siloviki (state security chiefs) over the westernizers, with the most western of faces throwing in the towel:
This represents the final break of Russia with the West, a break that it has been preparing for now for years. It has amassed a massive foreign wealth currency reserve (north of $600 billion USD), and has sanctions-proofed its economy, ironically thanks to US-sanctions regime forcing it to discipline itself by ways such as import-substitution.
Putin and Xi recently met and with 100% certainty have coordinated their recent actions and reactions. Little wonder, as the USA continues to push Russia into the arms of China.
Russia’s so far unwillingness to invade the rest of Ukraine while recognizing the two breakaway Donbass republics has wrongfooted many in the West. This represents a tactical victory for Russia, as it now increases its buffer zone in Ukraine. But it does not yet resolve the question regarding rump Ukraine and NATO. Russia might now feel the temptation to resolve this issue once and for all. This conflict is far from over.
The USA has also achieved a tactical victory in that it managed to secure itself the cancellation of Nordstream 2 by creating a win-win for itself: Putin acts, NS2 gets cancelled. Putin doesn’t act, NATO moves closer to Moscow and Volgograd, and he loses face.
Tactical victories are tactical for a reason. The strategic perspective is more interesting because it is rather obvious that Russia has moved closer to China. People are left wondering how the Americans plan to take on both Moscow and Beijing at the same time as the US pivots to Asia.
Trying to contain both of these nuclear powers reeks of hubris and detachment from reality. This detachment has become more and more pronounced lately, with the hilarious collapse of the US-backed forces in Afghanistan last summer a prime example.
At 1238 BET, President Zelensky’s 14-hour old ABC News interview was repackaged as a concession:
“In another apparent nod at placating Moscow, Zelensky said he is open to ‘compromise’ on the status of two breakaway pro-Russian territories that President Vladimir Putin recognized as independent just before unleashing the invasion on February 24.
“‘I have cooled down regarding this question a long time ago after we understood that … NATO is not prepared to accept Ukraine,’ Zelensky said in an interview aired Monday night on ABC News.
“‘The alliance is afraid of controversial things, and confrontation with Russia,’ the president added.
“‘I’m talking about security guarantees,’ Zelenski said.”