Sunday, March 13, 2022


The slaughter in Ukraine intensifies. Hybrid Russian warfare looks increasingly unavoidable. The apprehension in the EU is growing. The "escalation scale" is in the hands of Putin, who doesn't have to deal with public opinion or the loss of life. People in the West look on, increasingly angry, failing to understand why too little is done to end the madness. The geo-political constraints feel unconvincing.  The alternative, entering into a larger conflict, remains nevertheless to be avoided.

The EU summit in Versailles did not go as smoothly as was portrayed. The member states in the east fear, rightly so, that the present containment may not hold. They expect that Putin might consider reaching further, until the remaining smaller leftovers from the Soviet Union could be "swallowed". The Baltics still live with the hope that the NATO deterrent will suffice to protect them. 

The resistance in Ukraine is formidable. It shatters all Putin's pretense. The Ukranian president must feel bitter, being reduced to be hostage to a war that is uncalled for. He reminds all of President Allende in Santiago, supported by his people, but victim of a death foreboden. Zelinsky is already the hero in this century of broken dreams.

The world has come a long way from "the end of history". This sad remake of a  Grozny-type of slaughter on a country, which was part of the Slav community, is an existential catastrophe.   The West may decide on further sanctions but the Putin entourage can rest assured that compensation and bonuses are coming. The West has no other option than to re-arm, re-prioritize, and revisit foes and allies to make sure that all sources of energy become available. If Russia can destroy Ukraine--a cultural "little Russia"--with impunity, the West needs to solidify its independence by prioritizing its own needs, without taboos. President Macron is certainly the providential man for the EU, be it with misgivings in certain member states which resent his Realpolitik.  President Biden doesn't have it in him to transfer hope and charisma. Nevertheless the world should count its blessings to have rid itself from Trump and to be able to count on a successor who is informed, but not  always convincing.

Putin is showing some discursive symptoms but is smart enough to know where the borders between horror and Armageddon lie. It is hard to predict the outcome of this perverse conflict. What will Ukraine become? Its long, often sad history deserves a better ending than a long journey in the hell of street battles and sabotage. 

If a status of total neutrality is the answer, so be it, on condition that it is guaranteed by more, than an unreliable Russia. The West must also be given a certified opportunity to play a major role in reconstruction and socio-economic recovery. It would indeed be irresponsible to ask the arsonist to extinguish the fire. A recovery can only result from a gathering of interested parties, without territorial pre-conditions. The omen does not feel that great. After all, past major peace conferences ended up being the foreboders of a preordained death.

Meanwhile the West had better watch its steps and be aware that Putin's fake infiltrators/commandos could enter the scene. This operation remains what it was from the start: a (former) KGB affair.

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