Once the 2022 NATO-Russia war in Ukraine began in earnest on February 24, it has been a surprise that President Vladimir V. Putin has been so restrained in using the forces at his disposal in order to conclude the war on the terms declared by him to be essential. The exclusion of any Russian participation in the investigation launched by some of the belligerent powers is understandable only if there is something they wish to conceal from Moscow. If, as they claim, it was Putin who ordered the sabotage of his country’s own infrastructure, it would have made sense to invite the Russians to join, so that they would get first hand proof of their guilt. Given the gravity of an act of war such as the destruction of critical infrastructure, the democracies who are conducting the investigation into the causes of the four synchronised explosions that crippled the strategically significant gas pipeline need to make public details of their investigation, so that those accused by embedded NATO media of being conspiracy theorists, and who claim that the sabotage was carried out by the US together with their Ukrainian allies in the war NATO plus Ukraine is conducting since 2014 initially with the Russia-speaking population of Ukraine and since February 24 with Russia itself. When NATO SecGen Stoltenberg claims that the organisation he leads is not a co-belligerent in the conflict, he is showing himself to be an individual who has difficulty separating truth from fiction. In other words, a genuine conspiracy theorist, not those embedded media label as such for the single crime of not regurgitating entirely NATO-Ukrainian spin on the conflict in the manner that BBC, Guardian, the Washington Post, CNN and multiple other “free media” outlets have been doing since 2014. As for Putin, he has publicly declared his willingness to flood Europe with gas if only President Biden would give permission to Germany and its CSU—sorry, SPD—Chancellor to open the spigots on Nord Stream II. As faithful to US commands as Premier Fumio Kishida has shown himself to be is in Tokyo, Olaf Scholz is clearly ready to countenance economic disaster for his country and consequent misery for the German people rather than disobey a command from the White House. Such unflinching obedience to commands from superior officers brings to mind the valor of the Light Brigade against Russian forces on October 25, 1854, and when the history of Germany in the present period gets written, Scholz will figure prominently as the German leader who most contributed to the self-inflicted handicapping of Europe in its competition with Asian countries for influence and markets.
As (still ) a supporter of a US-EU-India alliance against the rise of a particular authoritarian power in Asia, the present analyst has laboured to understand just why both sides of the Atlantic are landing themselves into the very fate that they have planned for the Russian Federation since 1992. The only explanation seems to be that the Ukraine misadventure that began in 2014 and is continuing on its unfortunate course for every country other than China has been the consequence of decisions relating to the war being left to those manning intelligence agencies and the military in the belligerent Atlanticist powers. The 1980s war against Soviet invaders in Afghanistan was a textbook example of a war directed by intelligence agencies, while the Vietnam War during 1965-1974 was an example of a war where policymakers left the most consequential decisions to the military. Both intelligence agencies as well as the military have their uses, but being in the driver’s seat on war policy is not among them. In the name of domain expertise (which is needed in the requisite proportion in any policymaking body but ought never to overwhelm it), NATO conducted its wars in Syria and Libya through handing over the control joystick to an uneasy pairing of intelligence agencies and the military. In some decisions, the former would have the upper hand, in others, the latter. The result was a disastrous khichri (kedgeree) of actions that (as expected from the start by this analyst) resulted in an unbearable situation for the people of those countries, followed by a flood of refugees into Europe (minus the UK). As mentioned just a month into this conflict, Putin is under fire not for being ruthless with the Ukrainians, but for being too “soft” on Zelenskyy and his military. Once the ice hardens in November (giving an opportunity for large-scale regular Russian army assaults) and homes freeze across the European Union, the pain that the people in the belligerent powers are beginning to ensure will become much worse. Many may seek to migrate to the Americas, where they will expect a warm welcome. Especially in the US, in contrast to the experience of attempted migrants from South America.
Madhav Das Nalapat