New World Order. The U.S. Lost.
Let’s realize how profoundly the game has changed. Russia’s recognition of, and immediate activation of military support for, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR/LDR) has created a situation in which the United States (and its cat’s paw, NATO) can do nothing but lose. Indeed, it has already lost. The present situation, as of yesterday, created by Russian action, demonstrates that the US/NATO unipolar control of the world is over. It has nothing but threats that are ignored, the hollow bluffs of a bully who is losing control of the schoolyard and can do nothing that won’t hurt him more than anyone he threatens.
Something enormous just ended. Let’s go to the videotape to see what that is.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has been geopolitically contemptuous of Russia, with successive American administrations simply ignoring Russia in their calculations about how to go about ruling the world.
Poppy Bush promised Mikhail Gorbachev that the US would not expand NATO to take in the Eastern European and Baltic states, and he, Bill Clinton, and George W. proceeded to do just that. They took it for granted that Russia—under the leadership of their drunken stooge, Yeltsin, and devastated by the American-induced, shock-therapy, restoration of capitalism—could do nothing. With his war on Russia's close ally, Serbia, Bill Clinton announced that NATO’s judgement now trumped all other precepts of international law, and the alliance was free to attack any country on Earth; he, too, presumed Russia could do nothing about it. In Libya, Obama got the Russians (and Chinese) to vote for a “humanitarian” UN resolution, which he then both used as an excuse and blatantly flouted to bomb the crap out of Libya and murder Ghaddafi—assuming, again, that Russia could do nothing about it. G. W. Bush abrogated the ABM Treaty, and he and Obama moved to station “missile defenses” in Eastern Europe that Russia knows very well are configurable to enable a U.S. first strike; they assumed, of course, that Russia could do nothing about it. Donald Trump followed with the abrogation of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, because, again, Russian concerns could be ignored.
There have been two underlying presumptions underpinning the U.S.’s attitude toward Russia during this post-Soviet period that have led to the present, new not-so-Cold War.
One is the presumption of guilt—or, more precisely, the presumption that the presumption of Russian guilt can always be made, and made to stick in the Western mind.
The second presumption is, if anything, more dangerous. That is the presumption of weakness. This is the notion that Russia, like every other country on earth (and unlike the old Soviet Union) is, and knows it is, incapable of militarily resisting any determined assertion of American will that is backed by U.S. military power.
The presumption of guilt is something the American imperial managers are confident they can induce and maintain in the Western world. The presumption of weakness is one they—or at least too many of them—have all-too-blithely internalized.
That was a fair assumption to make during most of the post-Soviet period of contemptuous dismissal of Russia described above, but it has, I fear, in the minds of American foreign policymakers whose careers were formed during that period, persisted way beyond its expiration date. They seem not to have noticed, or registered the significance of, the steady, inexorable change in that reality.
We saw the first hint of this in Putin’s newly-assertive but still diplomatic jiu-jitsu in 2013, when he adroitly annulled the “chemical weapons” pretext for the attack on Syria that Obama was itching to launch. But the Russian will for military resistance first peeked out during the Ukraine upheaval in 2014, where Russia made clear it would use its military to backstop Crimea’s break from, and Donbass’s resistance to, the American-instigated, Nazi-infested coup regime in Kiev. (And I use that N-word advisedly. See my take on that here and here.) This resistance was on Russia’s home turf, as it were, and Russian armed forces remained in the background on the Donbass. So, American policymakers did not, or did not want, to register the import of Russia starting to say: There is some borscht we will not eat. And we will fight over it.
Then, in 2015, after the Obama administration announced its intention to attack the Syrian Arab Army, Russia accepted the Syrian government’s request for military help to resist the US-directed, NATO-airpower assisted, jihadi onslaught to overthrow the Syrian government. Without bluff or bluster, without saying much at all, Vladimir Putin just acted, sending Russian armed forces to prevent the final offensive against the Syrian state that the United States had announced it was readying. For the first time in decades, Russia had put its military directly in the way of the U.S. military. Not only will we not eat just any crap you try to serve us; we won’t let you make mincemeat of any country you don’t like.
Now, it’s come back to Ukraine. Confused and frustrated, American foreign policy shills, still enmeshed in arrogant presumptions of virtue and omnipotence, don’t seem to understand that they are not frightening Russia. They are only insulting the country, and have convinced it there is nothing remaining of US-Russian “partnership” negotiations. Those who should be frightened of this are the American people.
The United States now faces the final predicament of the bully. The incessant wave of sanctions and threats is the bully in the schoolyard clenching his fist to scare the new kid away. OK, everyone sees that. But, hey, the new kid stepped into it. What now? Unclench or punch?
The impossible quandary US/NATO imperialism now faces is that: 1) The US (and its tool, NATO) cannot accept the situation the Russia-DPR/LPR alliance has created. It fatally undermines NATO and US dominance over Europe and the world, and 2) At the same time, it cannot do anything to reverse it that would not also fatally undermine NATO and US dominance over Europe and the world
Here are its choices:
1) Accept the reality that LPR, DPR, and Crimea will never be reabsorbed by Ukraine. Stop trying to enforce an impossible outcome by military or economic threats, and live, trade, and interact normally and respectfully with all the counties in the region.
Result: US/NATO loses. US/NATO is revealed as a paper tiger. Russia develops stronger economic ties to Germany and Europe. Europe develops an economic identity within a Eurasian project in partnership with China and Russia. This is, of course, exactly what the U.S. project in Ukraine and Eastern Europe and NATO has been designed to prevent. It would mark the end of US/NATO unipolar world dominance—economically as well as militarily. It is, therefore, completely unacceptable to the U.S., and will never happen, unless European leadership arises that is willing to break from U.S. domination. The only possibility of that happening is as a result of massive economic and social pain and resulting political upheaval.
2) Launch a military effort to take back LPR, DPR, and Crimea--using Ukrainians as cannon fodder, or, if they dare, bringing in US/NATO troops directly.
Result: Loss for US/NATO, before or after a devastating, probably nuclear, world war, massive upheavals in Europe and maybe even the U.S. Nobody gets out without severe damage. But Russia will stand, and it will be the end of U.S./NATO unipolar domination.
3) De facto accept the independence of LPR and DPR. Retaliate with an attempt to punish Russia via stringent sanctions, stopping NordStream2, kicking Russia out of SWIFT, etc. The most likely strategy for US/NATO, already in process.
Result: Loss for US/NATO. Russia has acted as it has because it knows the U.S. will sanction it regardless, until and unless it submits to U.S. dominance, which it never will. Putin is saying: "You were going to sanction us no matter what we do, so shove your sanctions. Been there, done that. Came out OK, better even. You already threw that punch. What else you got?” Russia—and, I hope, Europe and the U.S.—also know that Europe and America (see oil, rocket motors, inflation, etc.). will be at least as devastated economically by any stringent sanctions regime, and will be at least as likely to face political upheavals. Russia, with help of China, will develop new payment systems and sell its oil to the Asian market. European countries will gradually come limping back. US/NATO will be revealed as a paper tiger, and it will be the end of NATO and unipolar dominance.
Though the third option is the likeliest for US/NATO; there is a greater-than-zero chance of the dangerous second option (tellingly, a greater chance than the first). Though it will result in a decisive loss for, and of, NATO and US unipolar world dominance, it will also seriously hurt Russia, and is the only option fantastically arrogant US strategists might think could result in a win.
As it has been for the past eight years, Russia will be very careful. Contrary to the confected MSM image, Putin has been reluctant to act outside of the parameters of the negotiation with his “partners.” He spent seven years resisting domestic Russian pressure and LPR/DNR entreaties to recognize their independence, before reluctantly concluding that Ukraine/US intransigence made Minsk a dead letter. He has no interest in invading, occupying, or “taking over” the headache of western Ukraine, which is, as a result of the 2014 US-led overthrow of its elected government, a failed state, a dependent ward of the U.S. and EU. Russia will not attack Ukraine to the west of LPR/DPR, unless the Kiev regime attacks those republics or NATO installs significant military infrastructure.
But in those circumstances, Russia will respond with all the military force it thinks is necessary, as it will to further NATO encroachments in Eastern Europe it deems existentially threatening. There is a real, and growing, danger of war.
I urge everyone to understand the point made by the Saker some years ago, which I discuss in my 2018 article, The Warm War: Russiamania At The Boiling Point:
The Russians are afraid of war. The Americans are not.
The Russians are ready for war. The Americans are not.
And I urge everyone, especially in Western media, to stop trying to read the tea leaves or figure out the 10-dimensional chess moves, and listen to Vladimir Putin, who has for years been stating exactly what his concerns and what the dangers are, and begging Western media to report them accurately and wake their people the fuck up.
Really, watch this conversation he had in 2017 with representatives of Western media.. Compare his discourse, demeanor, frankness, and intelligence with the ignorant clowns from US & UK. There’s an adult in the room.
We know year-by-year what's going to happen, and they know that we know. It's only you that they tell tales to, and you spread them to the citizens of your countries.
Your people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger--and this is what worries me.
How can you not understand that the word is being pulled in an irreversible direction. That's the problem.
Meanwhile they pretend that nothing's going on. I don't know how to get through to you anymore.
It’s a very dangerous situation. That has been created by US arrogance and assumption of superiority and invincibility for the past 30 years. The question is: Will the US ever give that up? Before getting smacked in the face and forced to?
American and European leaders, if they are capable of it, should be listening to their target, who has not tired of asking for a “partnership,” who has clearly stated his country’s red lines, whose country and family have suffered from wartime devastation Americans cannot imagine (Putin’s brother died in the siege of Leningrad), who therefore respects, fears, and is ready for war in ways Americans are not, and who is not playing their game:
“Fifty years ago, the streets of Leningrad taught me one lesson: If the fight is inevitable, be the first to hit.“
This post draws on previous articles of mine.
It is a flagrant omission to talk about the Russian military intervention in Syria without mentioning the American threat that preceded it.