I started this post over a month ago. I found it increasingly difficult to focus it. The task appeared monumental. How could I make sense of the geopolitical mess that seemed to balloon by the hour? This is why I chose to split in a few distinct chapters. In the mean time, the Ukraine crisis metastasized into war. The situation is Grave.
Like any good story, one must start with the dramatis personae, or cast of characters.
Peacekeepers are truly occupation forces under an assumed name. It’s all in the name, I tell you.
Before and during WW2, a nation would occupy another and call it Occupation. It was pejorative, it made the occupier evil, regardless of nationality, and it made the occupied righteous in its rebellion. To recap, occupier bad, occupied good.
Now the occupier would often call the occupier’s resistance an act of terrorism. That’s how the Nazi called the French, the Czech, the Russian, Yugoslav resistance and partisans.
After WW2, all this changed. Occupying forces became peacekeepers. Often under UN mandate, these blue helmets would go out to faraway places, in the middle of nowhere and start, well, keep the peace. Sometimes, they even prevented wars from reoccurring.
But what worked almost flawlessly during the Cold War, started to break down after 1991.
Peacekeepers abandoned peace keeping, and became occupiers, again. Because, you see, peace keeping always happens in countries that used to be or still are colonies of their former empires. You won’t see peace keepers in America, UK, Germany or Russia.
You will see them however in former Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Africa, Middle East, Ukraine, and in general everywhere else where the word Occupier doesn’t really get it done.
NATO is a military alliance. Its purpose is to wage war. That means it has a defined enemy. That enemy used to be, during the Cold War, USSR and the Warsaw Pact. Nowadays, it is Russia.
As a military alliance, NATO is trying to extend and grow in all directions. But mostly towards the east since the west is already taken.
That puts NATO into direct contact and proximity with Russia. Which is why the whole Ukrainian war started in the first place. Russia doesn’t want NATO hypersonic missiles six minutes of flight time from Kremlin. Who would?!
“The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.” This phrase underpins world politics since times immemorial. The great Athenian historian Thucydides wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War opposing Sparta and Athens (431-404 BC). In it, he included a remarkable piece of historical realpolitik. He wrote an apocryphal dialogue between the neutral inhabitants of Delos and the Athenian fleet commander who had invaded it.
While Delians appealed to Athenians’ better sentiments, the latter chose to slay all men, and sell into slavery all women and children. This is exactly why in reality, Justice and Good are never part of geopolitics. This is exactly why Might and Self-Interest always ARE.
Sanctions do not work. They used to though, but now they do not work any more. in 2014, when Putin invaded or liberated Crimea, the European Union and the United States imposed sanctions on Russian financial assets, trade and exports. Back then, they struck a serious blow to Russia.
But Putin used the intervening 8 years to make Russia (and himself) resilient against any Western economic sanctions. Nowadays, Russia can deal with any economic restriction the West will throw at her.
Most people don’t care to remember that Mussolini didn’t stop its campaign to subjugate Abyssinia in the 1930s just because the League of Nations decided to impose oil sanctions on Italy. And today, China and Russia represent more than 50% of world trade and energy reserves. So, what makes the Western Allies think sanctions will work when 50% of the world doesn’t care about, observe, abide or follow them?!
By imposing economic sanctions, the West will make Russia even more resilient in the future, for sanctions are a blade that cuts sharp the first time but grows duller with each and every use.
The happiness of big peoples is predicated on the unhappiness of small ones. Russia is a superpower today not because of its population. Mexico has more people than Russia.
Russia is not a great power today because of her economy. It currently ranks at #11 worldwide. No. Russia is a superpower because of its nuclear arsenal, technology and military forces.
UPDATE: Today, February 27, 2022, Vladimir Putin raised the readiness level of Russia’s strategic forces to the equivalent of DEFCON III.
Russia has now increased its force readiness above that required for normal readiness. Its air force is now ready to mobilize in 15-30 minutes. That is in itself deeply troubling. America went to DEFCON 3 during the 9/11 attacks.
Not only that. Some Russian Quorans who have been watching Russian news media quite closely, have raised some concerns that this crisis is more SERIOUS than anyone might say.
They said that two days ago, “Russian TV aired a televised conference of Russia’s Security Council—a kind of Putin’s Politburo—where they greenlighted the fireworks. Half of these guys looked batshit scared. If they are loosing their shit, what’s gonna happen to us, mere commoners?
In a televised speech, Putin promised NATO an annihilation if they dare to intervene in Ukraine. Some time ago he dropped a line about them “keeling over” and us “going to paradise”. Our beloved President isn’t about to get Moscow nuked by the Americans, is he?”
Russia has the most and biggest nuclear weapons in the world. The largest atomic weapon tested by any nuclear power was Soviet. In 1961, the USSR detonated the Czar Bomba over the New Land Island on the Arctic Circle. It was so powerful that it broke windows in Stockholm, 2,000 km away. Its seismic waves were still being detected after travelling around the globe THREE times.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND THE BALANCE OF POWER
When it became a nuclear power in 1949, USSR shocked the United States into an arms race that carries on even today. Nuclear weapons allowed USSR to extend its near abroad into Central Europe. It is the power of the Atom that subjugated Eastern & Central Europe for 2 generations.
It is the Atom all countries should build temples to. The nuclear powers of the world have been pushing the Non-Proliferation Treaty for 5 decades now. This is a blatant attempt at staying relevant in the post-atomic era. For we are all being asked or told to keep out of the Nuclear Club, if we know what’s best for us. Oh, but there are dissenters who know better than to obey the dictate of the mighty.
Well, I guess North Korea, China, India, Pakistan, Israel did not get the memo … in time.
And they are all fine and dandy. So, I ask myself why shouldn’t all countries have nukes?
After all, why should Israel have 90 nukes when the world knows that America stands firmly behind it and will not allow it to succumb under military invasion? Why? Why? Why?
Because, my good friends, America stands NOW behind Israel but who knows what lies in store in the future. That is why Israel and other countries chose to develop nuclear arsenals. They are the realists of this world. They are the smart countries who do not trust others with their security.
THE SWISS ‘PORCUPINE’
How many people know that the Swiss Confederation had plans in the 1960s-1980s to build nuclear bombs? How many know that even when the Confederation abandoned those plans at the end of the Cold War, it kept enough stockpile of fissionable material to build a number of atomic weapons within two months from receiving political green light?
Switzerland is also the only country on the face of the Earth that has sufficient nuclear shelters able to house 120% of its 8 million inhabitants. The Swiss example goes to show that a country does not trust others. It makes sure that it has options to survive, and to fight on even terms with the biggest, meanest dog out there. It should embolden others to follow suit.
BACK TO RUSSIA
I repeat, and let than sink in. Russia has nuclear weapons and they are not afraid to use them.
World leaders need to meet up and drop the moronic confrontational attitude, which has brought us closer to nuclear war than ever. The West needs to discard the foolish notion of extending into Russia’s near abroad. If the West and Europe needs security, so does Russia.
The time is passed for military confrontation. The combined power of the world arsenals is too great for humanity to survive unscathed. I for one am not ready to lay down my arms and surrender to panic. We must all do our part. We must take to the streets and protest against war and against governments who are gambling our children’s future away. We are responsible for our future.