They can’t make fire from faggots
AS I write, for the short month of conflict in Eastern Europe, global food prices have risen by an average 17 percent.
Energy costs have gone through the roof in environments which have destroyed practically all their flora, save in small parks and gardens. Europe cannot beat a bitterly cold winter through fire from faggots, as we do here in Africa. These staggering realities arise from a war pitting the Russian Federation which feels encircled and thus threatened by expansionist NATO, against Ukraine which once nursed ambitions to join NATO, thus bringing the hounds right on Russia’s doorstep.
Back to Cuban crisis
Push back the hand of time to world affairs in 1961; you meet a United States which was ready to burn the whole globe in a nuclear war against the then Soviet Union, in order to save itself from the Soviet nuclear menace. The Soviet Union had made bold moves to station nuclear war heads on Cuban soil, some 90 or so miles off United States borders.
If nuclear warheads some 90 miles away were enough causa belli for the United States then, what is nuclear warheads and an army stationed just inches away from Russia’s border with a Ukraine admitted into NATO?
Breaking Gorbachev-era agreements
When Gorbachev made a bonfire to burn the whole of Soviet Union for the edification of Ronald Reagan and triumphalist America, two agreements and expectations justified that Gorbachev suicide: NATO would not expand eastwards across Europe, thus menacing the remnant Russian Federation. Secondly, that self-immolation by the then Soviet Union, would usher in an era of East-West rapprochement, what with “the end of history”, and the global drift to full-blown capitalism and its neo-liberal value system.
Indeed for decades, states to emerge out of the old Soviet Union were in ferment as they recast themselves into the neo-liberal mould defined by regular elections under a multiparty democratic order and all that comes with it. America was in charge of that whole transition, creating many political NGOs to mastermind all those processes by which its Jeffersonian ethos would be replicated in Eastern Europe.
Oligarchs, America’s successful capitalism
By way of economic arrangements, Adam Smith toppled Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Lenin and Mao all put together, becoming the unchallenged god reigning over a vast capitalist demesne where the invisible hand authored life and shaped societies. Even China was rattled, yielding Tiananmen Square in the interim, and capitalism “with Chinese characteristics” in the triumphant long run.
Only Cuba held fast, even then allowing some changes towards limited liberalisation under Raul, Fidel Castro’s young brother. In old CIS and in the Russian Federation, capitalism was fully embraced, with two outcomes.
Many countries to emerge out of old Soviet borders, trimmed themselves prim to be admitted into NATO. Today, they have become beachhead to NATO’s expansionism eastwards, towards Russia. Almost all former members of Soviet Union, Russian Federation included, embraced capitalism as best they understood how, to give us the phenomenon the West today derisively calls oligarchical capitalism.
This primitive accumulation on crude principles of capitalism reminiscent of 18th and 19th Century Europe, rapidly created an aggressive middle class, especially in Russia, Belarus, Kazakistan, Bulgaria and many such countries.
With time, this crude middle class not only captured State Power in respective polities; it also defied national boundaries to ensconce itself formidably in practically all global capitals, in declining London foremost. Today, London runs on monies belonging to the so-called oligarchs, who also dominate its real estate.
Until this war, western governments, Her Majesty’s Government foremost, were comfortable to have these oligarchs live large, sail around the world in yachts asking billions a-piece. Who but capitalism, invented conspicuous consumption? Like Shakespeare’s Shylock, these oligarchs told capitalist West: the villainy of capitalism you taught us, we all now well execute!
Against whom was NATO ranged, after Gorbachev?
But there was one anomaly which went unexamined: the West’s persistent investments into NATO, itself an military alliance which continued to arm itself to the teeth, and to widen its “sphere of influence” eastwards, towards/against Russia.
Why was that still necessary in a re-made world where history had ended? Where capitalism was the only ideology? Against whom was NATO arming, existing? What was NATO’s raison d’être?
Putin once put this question to Bill Clinton, only obliquely: now that we have disbanded communism for capitalism, he suggested, why not admit Russian Federation into NATO? The Americans ignored him, in fact spat him in the face by continuing to expand eastwards, even militarising erstwhile states under Old Soviet Union.
As is typical with all nearly men and women, the new leadership to emerge from these former Soviet states — now newly admitted into NATO — now mourned more than the bereaved, hating Russian Federation more aggressively than NATO itself.
Therein lies the genesis of Zalensky and his proto-Nazi crew in Ukraine. The forerunner to this phenomenon had been one Shakesville of the Georgia Republic.
He was brutally put down by Putin, in an ominous warning which countries surrounding Russian Federation, Ukraine included, chose to misread. The Russian bear would not countenance any threat in its neighbourhood!
Real history brooks no lies
As if to validate Putin’s fears, pro-Russian winners of democratic elections which, ironically, the West claimed to use as a measure of open societies, would be ousted through colour revolutions which the same NATO painted, funded and deployed to drive out plebiscitary winners from office.
Again, Ukraine is the example. Just before the current conflict, the West had tried to sponsor insurrections in Belarus and one other pro-Russian state in the Caucasuses. Russia had to deploy to prevent a recurrence of a ballot overthrow as had happened in Ukraine.
Many who make fatuous comments on the current war in Eastern Europe, conveniently ignore all this, electing to start with that fateful day Russia crossed the border into Ukraine. Real history brooks no lies.
Russia’s biggest exchequer
Many things don’t make sense in this conflict we all saw, or should have seen coming. Firstly, the biggest exchequer to “warring” Russia is Europe itself, and America.
NATO countries, for short. They are the ones with keenest appetite for Russian products: oil, gas, uranium, platinum, diamonds, coal, you name it.
Their daily spending on Russian oil and gas is valued at €1billion. Who cannot prosecute a long war with such a feisty revenue base? Add to all that other imported commodities which include coal they tell us ruins the ozone layer, the daily bill reaches €5billion! And they dare tell their citizens, and the rest of us children of lesser gods that they decry Russia and its alleged misdeeds in Ukraine?
Dare tell us they have slapped Russia with sanctions, while carefully leaving out Gasprom and its banking arm to ensure their imports flow ceaselessly?
Here in our Zimbabwe, the man in charge of the US Embassy had the temerity to write to our Foreign Affairs, asking what we had done to bolster NATO sanctions against Russia! What cheek! At the UN General Assembly they hold in utter contempt until it suits them, they browbeat us into validating their crocodile tears by demanding that we cast our votes in respect of a resolution they have crafted without us?
The pendulum is starting to swing against NATO
But the world sees through this diplomatic humbuggery, and grows fed up with it. While the resolution tabled in the General Assembly reflected a world prepared to give the duplicitous West one more chance to prove their sincerity, the latest vote in the Human Rights Council clearly shows a world just fed up with NATO countries’ duplicity, but still fearful of NATO’s intimidation.
The overwhelming margin by which Russia was condemned in the first GA Resolution, dwindled this time around, suggesting a world slowly gathering courage to stand up to NATO and its bullying tactics. Fewer countries voted against Russia; more countries abstained and, more countries voted with Russia.
Given the intensity of NATO countries’ coercive diplomacy at multilateral meetings, the result was truly remarkable.
Indexical global changes
Three countries and regions showed this sea-change in global sensibility, away from NATO. China which abstained in the first GA resolution, voted with Russia this time around. Repeated deputations to India by many emissaries from NATO countries, including US, could not move India to take a position against Russia.
Indonesia, too, refused, as did Argentina which is also nursing afresh its grievance against Britain over Malvinas. Here on the African continent, South Africa, itself a member of BRICS, formulated a strident position against NATO.
As, too, did Pakistan which accused the US of seeking a regime change against Khan.
Fermentation in Middle East
But nowhere was the message clearer and more remarkable than in the Middle East where we saw both Saudi Arabia and UAE, historically friends of America until Biden, not even extending the courtesy to take calls from Biden or his minions.
Both are key to NATO’s energy security policy in the Middle East. Both are angry at Biden’s hostile naïveté where idealism takes precedence over realpolitik, and narrow US interests ride roughshod over these two countries’ sensitivities and interests in Yemen and against Iran.
Today, a ceasefire has been cobbled in Yemen, and appears holding, with America as a hapless by-stander. Saudi Arabia and UAE will not forgive Biden for his dalliance with Iran, all for oil.
Anyway, why would those two nations and many others, not welcome a recast world in which the epicentre shifts to the Middle East and Asia, well away from NATO countries?
Putin regime changes in NATO
As I write, power surreptitiously slips from Biden and Johnson, if opinion polls are anything to go by. Both face the rheum of American and British public for an escalation in cost of living because of punitive boycott of necessaries from Russia.
The poor have been hit hardest. They are beginning to ask questions, to rebel. Germany and Italy realise this, and have been very cautious in how they adopt measures against Putin’s Russia.
In France, Macron faces right-wing Le Pen who has been toning down to increase her appeal over Macron, while blaming her rival for the escalating cost of living in that country.
That makeup appears to be working, creating a massive backlash against Macron, against whom the plebiscitary pendulum now seems to swing.
If Putin drags his special operation in Ukraine – and much points in that direction – he could very well and easily cause several regime changes in NATO countries.
The recent Biden outing, alongside Obama, massively showed what little appetite remained for him inside America, and how nostalgic love gushes towards Obama. I don’t know what a Le Pen win would mean for US politics, where a comeback Trump would vote for Le Pen if he was French.
Or for the Russo-French relations, and with it, for unity in NATO, a day after a Le Pen victory, should it come.
Whose war is it, anyway?
The title of my article asks: whose war is the War in Eastern Europe anyway?
As the jingoistic western media is beginning to be fatigued and to sober up after realising this is likely to be a long war, new narratives are beginning to obtrude, albeit still incipiently.
One commentator suggested, at the risk of infamy and opprobrium, that the war between Russia and Ukraine is badly needed by America, cynically wishing to degrade Russia militarily and economically into a second-rate superpower which can’t threaten America.
He saw little wrong or unusual in that, even citing many examples from European history where proxy wars would be invented and sponsored, with the ultimate objective of weakening formidable rivals.
What the writer found wrong and reprehensible is how poor Ukrainians, led by their clownish President, have been turned into expendable fodder by America.
Indeed how their well-built national environment had been reduced to rabble sure to set them back into the Stone Age, thus snuffing out any hopes of membership to NATO which Russia will not countenance anyway, and which sleepy Joe has no stomach to enforce through a World War.
That is a plausible conspiracy theory, one very few would put past America, given its history in crafting cynical policies worldwide, including in 1961 when it sought to use Turkey to fly a nuclear-armed plane into the then Soviet Union, thus precipitating the Cuban Crisis.
When Russia sneezes….
However one views this theory – and that is what it remains as – Russia’s special operations in Ukraine have revealed one truth no NATO country was ever prepared to admit to, let alone acknowledge in global geo-economics: Russia is a superpower, both militarily and economically.
When it sneezes, the whole world, NATO included, catches Covid-19! As for Ukraine, May the God of Europeans help it. I am just some village donkey braying furious after feeding on dregs from an African brew.