Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
A significant part of the world population questions the reasons behind Europe’s unconditional support for the US in its war against Russia on Ukrainian soil, and despite the heavy financial losses that have afflicted the European population. Under President Joe Biden, the current US administration imposed its policy on most nations where his predecessor was less successful on the old continent. Former US President Donald Trump failed to convince Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to shut down Russia’s “Nord Stream-2” gas pipeline. At the same time, France prepared the European ground to end the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) role and called for a European army. Did the US plan to confront Russia; how and why did Europe give up its sovereign political decision for the benefit of Washington, contradicting the interests of the European continent’s food and energy security?
There are several reasons why Europe sided with Washington in its devastating war against Russia, striking at the heart of the European continent. However, the main questions remain unanswered: How long can Europe maintain its sanctions on Russia and pay the consequences due to the boomerang effects? Europe cannot sustain the “America First” policy but may not wait long to shift to a “Europe First” policy. Germany is the first to pay the first heavy price. Energy giant Uniper unveiled a record $40 billion net loss amid the European decision to cease the import of gas to the continent.
By overestimating its capabilities and financial power, Europe believes to be more important than Russia and, consequently, is unable to hear the concerns of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Europe projects its conditions and needs on Russia instead of establishing an equal partnership and negotiating with Moscow. Ignoring Russia as an equal partner prevents the Europeans from seeing the situation as it is and promotes walking behind the US – not European – interests. The European leaders’ disproportionate reaction (imposing harsh sanctions that hit Europe itself in the first place) is nourished by a colonialism ideology, thinking that the European continent is more important than Russia. However, Europe holds an almighty financial power but depends heavily on non-existing natural resources.
Europe believes it has made a mistake by putting all its energy-needed eggs in the Russian basket. However, the problem with this narrative is its inaccuracy. Russia never said it would cut the gas flow because it needs Europe’s hundreds of billions paid yearly for Russian energy and natural resources. The White House – not Moscow – announced the decision to suspend the multi-billion-dollar Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline. A few months later, the real panic in the energy market and a severe gas shortage in Europe happened when European Union states announced their decision to stop buying gas from Russia. Moreover, the Russian Nord Stream 1 suffered sabotage under the Baltic Sea, cutting the road for European leaders to return to the energy business with Moscow. More than 12 European nations, including EU and NATO members, are still enjoying Russian gas and oil and depend on it (between 100% to 60%), disregarding the US and EU sanctions.
President Vladimir Putin offered Europe to buy gas from Turkey through the Russian pipeline Turkstream if the continent is willing to reduce the severe gas shortage this winter. This offer fell on deaf ears, and several European leaders insisted on maintaining their self-harming sanctions and proudly announced the reduction of dependency on Russian gas. These leaders have decided to buy a much more expensive gas from the US, Norway, Algeria, Kazakhstan and other resources and plunge their citizens into severe inflation for an objective that has not been reached: to cripple the Russian economy.
The International Energy Agency warned that Europe could fall short of 30 billion cubic metres of gas next summer. Consequently, it should take immediate action before the 2023-2024 winter. That could be possible only if Europe ends the repercussions of supporting US policy and dominance. Europe can resume some ties with Russia. Still, it can lift the most damaging sanctions on the European population if Russia is content with establishing “business only” with the continent. The war in Ukraine is America’s, not Europe’s. However, European leaders both believe and behave otherwise.
There is little doubt that the Russia-US war was already heading towards a confrontation when Moscow came out of its deep slumber, which lasted from 1991 to 2015. That was when President Vladimir Putin decided to defend the only access the Russian naval force has to the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea in Tartous, Syria.
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Syrian militants – backed by dozens of Arabs and western countries, including many NATO states members – had confirmed their intention to expel Russia after the fall of the regime in Damascus in the war that began in 2011 and dragged on for over ten years. This explicit intention pushed Russia and Iran to find common objectives, cooperate to prevent the Levant’s partition, and create a “new Middle East” for which US administrations have paved the way. Russian-Iranian cooperation spoiled Washington’s plan, which saw an increasing threat to its plans and dominance in Russia.
However, when Washington thought that Moscow was elbowing its troops out of Syria, Russia did not hesitate to negotiate with the US the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It did not disagree to see him step down. On the other hand, Tehran has erected itself as a bulwark against any Russian-US cooperation and Washington – to the benefit of Assad – rejecting any serious Russian collaboration to end the war.
President Donald Trump, who enjoyed a non-hostile relationship with President Putin, had been unable to stop US and NATO military support for Ukraine to continue to prepare the ground for a future confrontation. The US support to Ukraine was planned, from the failed attempt to overthrow the Ukrainian government in 2004 to the successful coup d’état in 2014. Following the “Maidan colour revolution”, the US military support increased throughout the years until Joe Biden finally grabbed the opportunity to engage in a military confrontation with Russia, convinced that victory would be on Washington’s side.
The arrival of President Trump to power only delayed the US-Russian confrontation. This is why it circulated among many Middle Eastern leaders that President Putin preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton during the race towards the US presidency. It could very well be that the Kremlin was aware of the Democrats’ warmongering intentions in Ukraine.
Although he refused to start a war with Moscow, President Trump exerted maximum pressure on Germany and France. Both European states refused to comply with the US t cease or reduce the flow of cheap Russian energy supply. But the pressure from the former US president never reached the level of a hostile confrontation with his counterpart Putin. Thus, the level of escalation – not training of the Ukrainian army that preceded the war – remained under control between Russia and the US.
During his official tenure as Vice President under Barack Obama, Biden was in direct contact with the Ukraine policy, travelling to Kyiv and following the latest developments closely. However, President Joe Biden’s assumption of the presidency has tidied up his administration’s priorities by putting the Middle East at its lowest level and raising Ukraine to the top of its agenda.
Biden wanted to take on Putin to kill two birds with one stone, Russia and China, and send a stern message to any country that challenged US unilateralism, including Europe. US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin said China was the only competitor capable of reshaping the world (created and shaped by the US). Austin considered Russia a “serious risk” and said China and Russia were becoming closer. This indicates the long-term US objectives to protect its unilateralism, though with no guarantee of success.
The US accelerated its military cooperation with Ukraine, including Kyiv, in several manoeuvres with NATO, trained its members in using Western weapons, and integrated it into its anti-Russia ideology in preparation for Kyiv to join NATO. Ukraine intended to walk behind the West and entirely away from Russia. Kyiv believes its place is with the West and was ready to challenge Russia; it refuses to remain neutral and is ready to pay a heavy price, if necessary, to join NATO and the European Union. After all, NATO is a military organisation formed to confront the Soviet Union and continued to expand after the fall of the Soviets. The twelve NATO members created to stand against Moscow in 1991 became 30 after the fall of the Soviet Union. NATO is expanding its horizon beyond its orders (North Atlantic), and its Secretary General is calling the member states to prepare for a confrontation with China.
Russia failed to foresee the Ukrainian determination to challenge Moscow in case of conflict, as has happened in the last nine months. Washington was aware that President Putin – who raised his concerns about the NATO-Ukraine rapprochement in 2007 at the Munich Security Conference- would not remain silent. NATO provoked Russia in 2008 and 2009, adding more members to its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
When Putin felt ready to defend Russia’s national security, and, following multiple ultimatums, Washington turned its back on him. Russia began gathering tens of thousands of soldiers on the Ukrainian border in April 2021, ten months before the announcement of the battle. Putin wanted the world to realise how serious he was about waging war if it was imposed on him.
America was left with only two options: the first was that Putin would not go to war with Ukraine. This option means that Kyiv would join NATO and protect itself with the fifth article of the alliance’s charter, which states that all NATO countries will defend their members if attacked. This would have caused America to deploy nuclear bombs on Ukrainian territory. NATO has already deployed 150-200 US nuclear bombs on its members’ environments where US air bases have the only control.
The second option was the war, which the US President thought he would win, as he informed the leaders of the countries of the European Union. Indeed, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a member of NATO and the European Union, said President Biden had told Europe that “President Vladimir Putin will not remain in power. Orban said the US believed it would defeat Russia and that its economy could be brought to its knees in only a few months.
The Hungarian Prime Minister spoke overtly against the US failed plan, adding that “if Angela Merkel and Donald Trump were in power, there would be no war in Ukraine. And whoever believes that the war will end through Ukrainian-Russian talks does not live in this world,” he stressed. Orban was referring to the need for the US (not Ukraine) and Russia to sit down at the negotiating table to end the war.
The battle is still ongoing, and the fall of Putin and the victory of the West seem far-fetched. Europe believed otherwise and did not want to stay away from the US “spoils of war” and guaranteed success. The coordinator of EU Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, believes that “Europe is like a beautiful garden and the rest of the world is a forest”. Thus, European leaders still have the ideology of colonialism and the belief that the world revolves around Europe and that the rest of the countries live outside the circle of civilisation and progress.
This racist remark and tendency stem from Europe’s rich history of thieving wealth from peoples and continents over many decades. Natural resources were stolen by European conquerors from Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. A similar mentality pushes Europe to blindly join the US in sharing the benefits of the “fall of Russia”, according to their calculations or miscalculations.
The result thus far for Europe is counterproductive, and Moscow unexpectedly reacted forcefully, pushing European leaders into severe financial debts and facing a dismantling of European industry. Europe will need sooner or later to find ways to appease the widespread popular discontent over poor living conditions, high inflation and shortages of energy. The European crisis seems just at its beginning, and the alarm is raised for the coming years if no changes are seen in the EU leaders’ policy toward Russia.
The time has come for the European continent to be more sensitive towards the reality of the financial burden on its population. European leaders may be unaware that the civilised world is not just within its walls. Still, those other continents have ancient civilisations, natural resources and alternatives to choosing partners other than the West. Many countries worldwide were destroyed by decades of western wars and regime change directly by the West’s “colour revolutions” or invasions, like in Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Lebanon, to name but a few.
Europe may be unaware that the world no longer considers the West’s problems the whole world’s problems. The oil-rich countries have rejected Western dictates to increase their oil production and reduced it by two million barrels per day at OPEC plus, disregarding the US harsh reaction and Europe’s need for oil.
Non-western countries like China, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Iran, Africa and other nations that represent two-thirds of the population have refused to follow the West’s policy and its “bad bet” on the course of the war in Ukraine, now expected to last a long time. Europe is walking towards its impoverishment while the US is ready to sacrifice the old continent and consider it “collateral damage” to maintain its dominance. That dominance seems now to be in serious jeopardy.
`Proofread by: Maurice Brasher
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