Monday, February 14, 2022


The curent situation in Europe feels almost like a rerun of Munich. Yet again, leaders flock to the culprit, trying to avoid "war". Putin, sitting at the end of the long white table, condescends to listen to Europeans who beg him to spare a country they hardly now. Chamberlain's infamous words about Czekoslovakia come to mind. 

Invaded or not, the fate of Ukraine is sealed. It will never be a normal state. President Biden's phone calls are hardly aknowledged, while Europeans appear to be moving more for their own parochial motives than for a Grand Plan. The more they knock on the doors of the Kremlin, the more Putin's status grows.

If the present situation were to change for the worse, the sanctions that await Russia will hurt--until sanctionsfatigue sets in. History is a sad reminder of the reality that interest always wins over intention. In the short run, punishment will hurt. In the long run it will fall apart.

Besides, Moscow was smart enough to legalize its mariage contract with China. In the Western camp Germany remains a potential joker, while France 's more Napoleonic diplomacy remains what it is: "much ado about nothing". President Biden is further weakened by the geographic ignorance of Americans who cannot be bothered by yet some other external, "far away" folly. The President himself and the Secretary of State know too well what is at stake, mostly the remaking and rebranding of the defunct Soviet Union. Putin wants to make the United States an "overeas non-European power" again, 

The tragedy is that Ukraine stands alone, because of historical fatality and European fatigue. The EU is hors jeu. Most signals that come out of Eatern Europe are ominous:  Bosnia, Georgia, Hungary. Nobody is eager to get too close to another lethal disturbance .

At the end of the day, Putin will have to decide if he wants Russia to become an even poorer pariah state or take the risk of sacrifying a plausible better future for a certified economic agony. It remains to be seen if Lavrov, who is still more of a class diplomat than a poker player, can reign Putin in.

The world is in bad shape. The accumulation of negative factors  makes its future unpredictable. Many have already predicted that life between the parameters of the pandemic and climate change might become a deadly game of Russian roulette. With these players around the table the bluff might become deadly serious.

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