By Kumar David –
The last time the global strategic map was redrawn (Version1) was when the Soviet Union went up in smoke. Version2 is now on the drawing board. I continue to be firm in my view that there will be no all-out war because neither Putin nor Biden want it, but I also insist no Russian leader who permits NATO to creep up to the Russian border can long survive in domestic politics. The Russian people can never forget the tens upon tens of millions of souls they lost and the devastation of four huge invasions in the last three centuries. On the other side Biden and his court jester Boris are only playing to recoup domestic approval ratings. For example, here is what Ron Paul, a right-of-centre on economic policy self-styled libertarian and constitutionalist has to say (abbreviated).
We are in “uncharted territory” the media tells us; uncharted because no one imagined the US would be so foolish to risk thermonuclear war over the borders of Ukraine. An urgent Biden-Putin phone call was a farce:
Biden to Putin: “Don’t invade Ukraine.”
Putin to Biden: “We have no intention of invading Ukraine.”
Biden to the US media: “Putin is about to invade Ukraine!”
Then Biden’s top officials embarrass themselves by warning that invasion was imminent. Do they have any credibility left with their constant hysterical warnings? Meanwhile “US intelligence” continues to leak incendiary information. What the US media (and the BBC -KD) will not report is that this was been brought about by US interference in the internal affairs of Ukraine, specifically the US-backed coup that overthrew an elected government in 2014. Every bit of unrest in Ukraine proceeded from that single foolish and immoral act by the Obama Administration.
That is why we are non-interventionist. The philosophy of non-interventionism is one very good piece of insurance protecting us from needless war. If you don’t meddle in the affairs of foreign countries, there is less chance of being dragged into an unnecessary war. The Biden Administration is at present shell-shocked that the Russia did not back down over plans to expand NATO to Ukraine. This is not our fight, yet Biden’s foreign policy team has decided it’s a great time to kick the hornet’s nest. Is it all about Biden’s dismal approval ratings? What a sick thing to risk a major war over”.
As often happens in such circumstances the tail begins to wag the dog. The Ukrainian far-right and neo-fascists have got President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by the short-and-curlies and he in turn has got Biden by the balls. The Ukrainian right calculates that it can poke the Russian bear in the eye drawing strength from NATO arms flowing into the country and Western sanctions-threats against Russia. Biden has painted himself into a corner while others, that is Zelenskyy and Putin pull the levers. The poor fellow’s reactions are robotic now.
All-out war is very unlikely if not impossible, but the global strategic atlas will be transformed if sanctions such as excluding Russia from the US controlled international banking and financial systems go ahead. Russia and its biggest trading partner China have no option but to develop alternatives to the SWIFT clearing and payment system and to the petrodollar. This will be a process and take time but the Russians seem not to be over worried about sanctions. On 15 Feb, Ambrose Pritchard said in the Financial Times “Russia has amassed foreign exchange reserves of $635bn, and rising. It has a national debt of just 18pc of GDP, the sixth lowest in the world, and falling”.
What is more important in the immediate term are likely international politico-strategic vagaries. I can see nothing to stop Putin from playing the Iran-card and the China-card. I have no inside news to infer that Russia will sell strategic missiles, “iron-dome” defences or nuclear arms to Iran, but what is to stop him? And if China takes a more aggressive approach to the Taiwan standoff, Russian backing will be firmer than in the past. In this broad scenario the emergence of an Eastern Pact (remember the Warsaw Pact) including China, Russia, Iran, Belarus, some Central Asian countries and the two Donbas republics seems likely.