America is the big winner of the war in Ukraine – and all of Europe will lose

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Hot and Cold Wars in divided Europe played a decisive role in the 20th century in making the United States the most powerful country on earth. The war in Ukraine has a similar effect this century in promoting American primacy. At the top of any league table of winners and losers in the conflict so far will inevitably be the USA.

Put aside for a moment the humanitarian and democratic motives for American intervention in the war, not out of any sense of cheap cynicism but to understand how the war is tearing apart the political landscape of the world.

The USA could have been a great power in the 20th century regardless of its size and economic sophistication, but it was World War II and the subsequent Cold War that gave it a global hegemony that only the communist powers challenge. Its dominance was greatly enhanced by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, if Because it was subsequently eroded as its economic preeminence waned and it failed to win small wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Huge mistakes

Today, Europe is again at war and the US is inevitably winning. On February 24, 2022, President Vladimir Putin repeated the huge mistakes of Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1914 and Hitler in 1941 by starting a war he was unlikely to win. Russia will be the main loser but so All of Europe as well, although the extent of its losses will only become clear at the end of the war, whenever that may be.

The need to present the conflict as a selfless moral crusade by NATO powers led by the US, masks the real politics of what is going on. But the political earthquake resulting from the conflict in Ukraine is described with admirable clarity by Anthony H. Cordesman, one of America’s most influential strategic thinkers, holds the Emeritus Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

He writes that those who argue against almost unlimited aid to Ukraine – actually those in the US who want to negotiate an end to the war as soon as possible – “ignore the strategic advantages it provides to the US… Far too much of the reporting on the Ukraine war ignores the fact that the US It has already obtained great strategic benefits from aid to Ukraine, and that such aid … is one of the best investments the US can make in competing with Putin’s Russia and advancing its security.”

Proxy war with Russian

Cordesman claims that those in America who look at the price tag of the aid ignore “the fact that the war in Ukraine has become the equivalent of a proxy war with Russia, and a war that can be fought without the casualties of the US military, which unites most of the democracies in the world to stand behind a common goal, which deeply punishes Russia for its actions Its aggression and reinforces every aspect of deterrence.”

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He compares it to the failed US military intervention on behalf of a corrupt and unpopular Afghan government, which lacks “Ukraine’s national unity and commitment to self-defense.”

More from opinion

Britain, France, Germany, Canada and Poland along with NATO powers and the European Union are also helping Ukraine militarily and waging an economic war against Russia. But the burden of this is not equally shared as, while the countries may provide less military aid to Ukraine than the US , “Most of our European partners and allies are suffering much more from the economic consequences of their support for Ukraine and rising global energy costs than the Americans.” When US inflation reached 7.7% in November 2022, it was 11.1% in the UK, 11.6% in Germany and 14.3% in the Netherlands.

Kharkiv and Kherson

There is more to this than a temporary economic hardship, as Europe permanently loses its access to cheap Russian oil and gas supplies. The German chemical industry, which has long relied on low-cost Russian gas, has suffered a crippling blow from which it may not recover. It should stop the production of the chemicals.

About 1.5 million Germans work in industries, from ceramics to paper, which are affected by the war in Ukraine. The sanctions may succeed in severely damaging the Russian economy, but they also act as a self-destructive boomerang in the rest of Europe, much more so than in the US, with its reliance on oil and gas.

So far, the U.S. is the big beneficiary of the conflict, but it shows no sign of ending as each side tries to win a decisive victory, though the chances of them succeeding are slim. The pendulum of war is swinging back and forth and several other devastating military options remain on the table. In September and October, For example, the Western media exploded with enthusiastic reports of a victorious Ukrainian advance around Kharkiv and Kherson with the Russians in flight, but by November and December barrages of Russian missiles and drones had destroyed Ukrainian infrastructure.

risks regime change in Moscow

Russian weakness poses almost as many problems for the US as Russian strength. If Putin faces defeat on the battlefield, then Russia may agree to humiliating peace terms, but in desperation they are likely to escalate just as much, threatening to use nuclear weapons inside Ukraine. The chances of that are not high, But it is much more plausible than the great majority of politicians and experts imagine.

It is often said that Putin and Russia are locked in a war they cannot win but they cannot end it without admitting defeat, which is something they dare not do without risking regime change in Moscow. There is a lot of truth in this, but it is rarely noted that the US is also caught in a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, from which it cannot emerge with anything less than a decisive victory without risking damage to its own reputation. This probably rules out a compromise solution to the war.

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Putin’s war aims, when he invaded Ukraine with 190,000 troops, appeared to be a hopelessly unrealistic bid to take over, or at least overthrow the government, in a country two and a half times the size of Britain. Ten months later, practical U.S. war aims seem equally vague, compared to an all-out assault by Putin, a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield, or regime change in Moscow. All are conceivable, but a more likely prospect is a long war that escalates as each side struggles in vain to gain the upper hand.

Additional thoughts

Robert Alan Stanford leaves the Bob Casey federal courthouse in Houston, Texas. “Currently serving a 110-year prison sentence in the US after being convicted of fraud in 2012, [Robert Allen Stanford] Ran a huge Ponzi scheme for years’ (Photo: F Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The last few years have been good for fraudsters all over the world, although some may ask when exactly they had a bad year? Deregulation has always been the scammer’s friend and none more so than in the UK. You should watch this documentary about how London became the dirty money capital of the world. The pandemic has created many opportunities for those intent on selling useless PPE to the government for astronomical sums, taking full advantage of a crisis that can conveniently excuse or explain transactions that could be considered criminal.

When it comes to investors being robbed of their money, there is one recurring aspect of scams that has always fascinated me. It is their bluntness and absolute transparency and the ease with which they can be identified. Time and time again, it turns out that what looked like a Ponzi scheme a mile away, was exactly the same close-up. Greed, wishful thinking, ignorance and stupidity explain a lot, but there is often a rational calculation by investors that they will profitably sell their shares before the bubble bursts and the authorities move in, if they ever do.

This syndrome in its most extreme form has been called “blood theft”, the false conviction of our fraud victim that they are cleverly attaching themselves to some shady enterprise that circumvents or violates the law in order to generate huge profits in which our investor will participate.

I once saw a close-up of one huge scam when I visited the Caribbean island of Antigua about 15 years ago. At the airport, Robert Alan Stanford’s name was everywhere and he seemed to have bought the island. Currently serving a 110-year prison sentence in the US after being convicted of fraud in 2012, he ran a massive Ponzi scheme for years, protecting his interests by buying off local and US politicians.

Although his basic scam was crude, he had more ingenious projects, one of which was explained to me by a friend from Antigua. She knew a lot about Stanford because he was trying to buy a piece of land from her near the airport. He needed the property because he planned to build a luxury resort for very rich Russians adjacent to the airport on a nearby peninsula or island. The idea was that oligarchs and their ilk, with records that smelled so bad they couldn’t safely get through passport control anywhere else in the Caribbean, would be able to do so without fear of arrest in Antigua because it would technically be a billionaires’ vacation. Part of the airport so that passports are not checked.

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My friend’s land blocked the way, hence Stanford’s determination to buy it. I don’t remember why my friend refused to sell but she must have held out for more money. Here is a detailed account of Stanford’s extraordinary career.

under the radar

George ‘Johnny’ Johnson poses during an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters raids in 2018. ‘Johnson was a bomb aimer in 617 Squadron which breached the dams in Germany’s industrial Ruhr Valley. became an iconic event in British war history” (Photo: Leon Neill / Getty Images)

The last survivor of the 1943 Dambuster air raids died just before Christmas at the age of 101. George Leonard “Johnny” Johnson was a bombardier with No. 617 Squadron that breached the dams in Germany’s industrial Ruhr Valley in an attack that became an iconic event in the history of the war British.

The purpose of the raid was to damage German weapons production and this was achieved in part by destroying hydroelectric power plants that relied on the dams. The collateral damage included at least 1,650 people, besides others listed as missing. Most of the dead were forced laborers or prisoners of war, mainly from the Soviet Union, who drowned in the floodwaters that were suddenly released when the dam walls were blown up.

I don’t think the heavy civilian casualties should have been a reason for not launching the Dambuster raids. However, the point I do want to make is that all wars are always fought against civilians and military targets, even though governments and armies always pretend otherwise. The British government praises Britain’s proposal to damage the German electricity infrastructure in 1943, while condemning the Russian campaign to destroy the Ukrainian electricity infrastructure in 2022 as akin to a war crime. Such hypocrisy is to be expected in wartime, but it only really matters if the public is led to believe that our side is waging a clean and humane war and the other side is not.

Cockburn’s election

A police car during the riots in Los Angeles in 1992. ‘Los Angeles incarcerates more people than any other city in the United States’ (Photo: Bob Riha, Jr/Getty Images)

Los Angeles incarcerates more people than any other city in the United States, which in turn incarcerates more people than any other nation on Earth. this book – City of Prisoners: Occupation, Rebellion, and the Rise of the Human Cage in Los Angeles, 1771-1965 – is essential reading for those who want to understand the US and what, so to speak, really makes American society tick.

This is Messages with Patrick Cockburn, a subscription-only newsletter from i. If you’d like to receive it straight to your inbox, every week, you can sign up here.


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