Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Putin's Geopolitical Dog Day Afternoon?

Why Russia Believes It Cannot Lose the War in Ukraine Mr. Karaganov warned for years about a potential conflict in Ukraine over NATO expansion. Since the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February, he has written articles and given interviews in broad support of President Vladimir Putin, so I interviewed him to better understand Mr. Putin’s aims in the conflict. Ukraine continues to suffer, and those who hope to support Ukraine must understand those aims as it tries to confront Russia’s aggression. .......... When the military conflict started, we saw how deep Ukraine’s involvement with NATO was — a lot of arms, training. Ukraine was being turned into a spearhead aimed at the heart of Russia. Also we saw that the West was collapsing in economic, moral, political terms. This decline was especially painful after its peak in the 1990s. Problems within the West, and globally, were not solved. That was a classic prewar situation. The belligerence against Russia has been rapidly growing since the late 2000s. The conflict was seen as more and more imminent. So probably Moscow decided to pre-empt and to dictate the terms of the conflict. ........... This conflict is existential for most modern Western elites, who are failing and losing the trust of their populations. To divert attention they need an enemy. But most Western countries, not their presently ruling elites, will perfectly survive and thrive even when this liberal globalist imperialism imposed since late 1980s will vanish. .......... This conflict is not about Ukraine. Her citizens are used as cannon fodder in a war to preserve the failing supremacy of Western elites. ......... I have been predicting such a war for a quarter century. ......... Now Russia will contain and deter the West without any second thought and hopes left. We shall wait for what will happen within the West. ......... Taking into consideration the vector of its political, economic and moral development, the further we are from the West, the better it is for us. At least for the coming decade or two. .......... Maybe the decision should have been made earlier. And Covid postponed it. ........ I am reiterating in most of my writings and public appearances that we should preserve freedom of thinking and intellectual discussion, which is still much wider than in many other countries. We do not have the cancel culture or impose the deafening political correctness. I am concerned about the freedom of thought in the future. But I am even more concerned about the growing probability of a global thermonuclear conflict ending the history of humanity.

We are living through a prolonged Cuban missile crisis.

And I do not see people of the caliber of Kennedy and his entourage on the other side. .............. Belligerent Western policies, which are almost welcome, are cleaning our society, our elites, of the remains of pro-Western elements, compradors and “useful idiots.” ......... with cancel culture now on the rise in the West, we could remain one of the few places that will preserve the treasure of the European, Western culture and spiritual values. ......... The minimum is the liberation from the Kievan regime of Donbas, which is in its final stages, and then of southern and eastern Ukraine. Then, Russia’s aim should probably be that the territory left under Kievan control will be neutral and fully demilitarized. ......... the collapse of the former world order of global liberal imperialism imposed by the United States and movement toward a much fairer and freer world of multipolarity and multiplicity of civilizations and cultures. .......... Russia will be playing its natural role of civilization of civilizations. Russia should also be playing the role of the northern balancer of this system. ......... We are proud heirs of a great culture created by Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol. He [Gogol] was coming from the lands that are now Ukraine, and formed our love for these lands. We are heirs of unbeatable warriors, like A. Suvorov, and marshals Zhukov and Rokossovsky. This world order is still over the horizon. But I am working to bring it closer.

Mr. Putin Launches a Sequel to the Cold War a fateful new East-West struggle is underway with no indication of where it might lead or how long it might last. ..... In announcing new sanctions, trade restrictions and measures against Russian oligarchs, Mr. Biden said they would impose “severe costs” on the Russian economy “both immediately and over time.” But while a serious fall in the Russian currency and stock market suggest this could be so, the sanctions also demonstrated the limitations of what the West has done so far. ...... That the threat failed to deter Mr. Putin indicates that he was prepared to absorb the costs, and to wait and see whether the West could do the same. ........ Mr. Biden stopped short of two especially tough punishments — personal sanctions against Mr. Putin and excluding Russia from the SWIFT system of global money transfers. The latter in particular would do immediate and grave damage to the Russian economy. But it would also damage the countries with which it trades, including the European Union members and the United States. Mr. Biden said that all such sanctions remained on the table. ........ Even Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, an unabashed fan of Mr. Putin, fell in line with E.U. sanctions. ....... In keeping with his inexplicable fawning over Mr. Putin while he was president, Donald Trump issued more outrageous appreciation of the Russian’s actions even as the invasion was about to start, saying, “He’s taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions. I’d say that’s pretty smart.” ........ Thousands of Russians courageously took to the streets in Moscow and other cities on Thursday to protest the war and were met with a fierce police crackdown. How deep the resistance goes, or what it could achieve against Mr. Putin’s authoritarian rule, is unclear. It is also not known whether the antiwar outpouring had any tacit sympathy in the upper echelons of government. ........ Putin has thrust Europe into the most dangerous conflict since World War II, acting on a combination of misguided grievances, flawed history and illusions of grandeur. ....... He has launched a sequel to the Cold War, a potentially more dangerous one because his claims and demands offer no grounds for negotiations, and because along with its nuclear arsenal Russia is capable of launching a massively destructive cyberwar. ......... The West is strongest when it stands together for its shared values and against a common enemy.