Sunday, February 25, 2024


The usual well-meaning suspects spent a day in Kiev, marking two years of relentless slaughter by Putin & Co.  This sad- looking group appeared lost in a decor that is actually a crime scene. The Italian P.M. acted as if she were hallucinating. The president of the Commission was, as always, candid and to the point.

The malaise cannot be denied. The Ukrainians are tired, the Europeans waiver between the best intentions and a sobering realization, the Americans are bound by their own self-defeating nightmares.

There is no light at the end of this tunnel. It looks impossible to find a way out since the aggressor makes any considered outcome a no-way zone before it reaches the negotiation table. Putin's frightening hostile anamorphic is alive. It is also shredding any form of prior agreed-to arms control, nuclear restraint or implementation of the Helsinki agreements.

Everybody is waiting for the outcome of the US presidential elections. Trump is already Europe's nightmare. He is no longer game for his former ego trips to the EU or the UK. Europeans are stuck in the middle with a possible future American president they despise and a Russian they fear.

In the current situation, the EU must regroup around a military strategy which can act as a deterrent. It cannot permit a repeat of the Ukrainian scenario, wherein armaments arrive too late and stocks are depleted. Sometimes it looks like a replay of events in the late thirties, more Chamberlain than Churchill. President Biden is hostage to a Republican cabal that stands in the way of meaningful action. The right in America care more for the unborn than for the dying.

The fate of Navalny feels already like the somber score of a Requiem. Putin doesn't mind posing as Ivan or Peter but he looks more like a dead soul out of Gogol. This doesn't make him less dangerous. In his quantitative mindset there is no room for  emotion. He acts beset with hatreds and resentment, not unlike Trump. The EU's surroundings have become a darker place, deserted by the better angels. The rising storms East and South  are ominous. The selfish aberrations of  "partners" like Hungary or Israel become equally hard to endure. Patience is running low and the confidence deficit is climbing fast.

The Economist asks "Is Europe ready?" The answer is an unambiguous NO.

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