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The bone of contention

by Kai Ehlers
Russia really wants only one thing: to prevent Ukraine from becoming a full NATO country. Against the background of the current overall political situation, the West's behavior points to one thing above all: Its own population is to be kept in suspense by a succession of shocks and crises in order to be able to control it better.
The bone of contention
Russia doesn't want to annex Ukraine - it just wants to prevent NATO from doing so.
By Kai Ehlers
[This article published on Feb 1, 2022 is translated from the German on the Internet, Der Zankapfel.]

The noise about Ukraine is getting shriller. And yet: the war will not happen in the way many sides are currently conjuring it up with ever new speculations. Russia is not threatening war, nor is Putin interested in invading Ukraine. An annexed Ukraine would burden Russia economically and politically to an extent that it could no longer cope with. Russia really wants only one thing: to prevent Ukraine from becoming a full NATO country. Against the background of the current overall political situation, the West's behavior points to one thing above all: Its own population is to be kept in suspense by a succession of shocks and crises in order to be able to control it better.

Joe Biden, too, only tones down his statements and then immediately puts them into perspective again. Even Annalena Baerbock, who likes to be militant, is building up a threat against Russia, but the real will to attack is missing behind her. It is recognizably not about open war with Russia, but about its constriction, if possible dead armament - whereby the entire Western propaganda troop at the same time clearly shows that not one of them is ready to go into the fire for Ukraine and to let his war-mongering words be followed by military deeds.

Let's keep it simple: Russia as the heartland of Eurasia, connected with China and all the more closely, the more the chorus of USA, NATO, EU turns up the tone of their threat marathon, would not be defeated in a war with conventional weapons. Already in the past it could not be conquered, occupied or subjugated by wars of conquest. Recall the failed attempts of Napoleon in the 19th century, the German Wehrmacht in World War I, Hitler in World War II, and the unsuccessful soft takeover by the United States after the demise of the Soviet Union. Today, moreover, the use of nuclear weapons would have deadly consequences even for the first to use them.

Nor is it simply a repeat of the "Cold War" between two blocs. What we are currently witnessing are rather the hysterical attempts of the "West" to maintain its previous global dominance below the threshold of open warfare, let alone nuclear war, in order to prevent a shift in the constellation of global forces that is unmistakably growing.

What we are currently witnessing is, strictly speaking, a clamor that is all the louder the less the Western actors are able to actually implement what is threatened.

Let's just take the bickering over "Nordstream 2" as an example: Given Germany's dependence on gas imports from Russia, does Annalena Baerbock really want to expect the German population to pay the "price" for Russia no longer supplying gas? Politically, she probably wouldn't survive that.

Or let's take the demand to exclude Russia from the international payment traffic SWIFT: How will the "West" survive the resulting loss of its financial dominance without escalating the financial crisis that is already rampant? What other "prices" does Baerbock want to impose on the German population and the European population associated with it without causing uproar among the population, which is accustomed to prosperity, or at least to affordable basic services?

Not to mention, finally, that a conventional as well as nuclear use of weapons against Russia would lead to a devastation of Europe, specifically Germany. Even a U.S. president could not want such a use of weapons, because in a weapon fight fought with hypersonic missiles, even the U.S. would not remain unscathed. All actors know that. So what? Why all the noise?

One will see that the loudest screamers will sit down with a whimper to "dialogue" because the easy way out of today's transformation crisis, the great war of conquest that could destroy the enemy, no longer exists without initiating one's own destruction with it.

Instead, local fires are increasing and frozen conflicts in the various border areas and overlapping zones of influence of the blocs are thawing. This allows them to keep each other in check. In this, the West has an advantage over Russia because Russia is surrounded by many such conflict zones from the legacy of the Soviet Union. Ukraine is one of these conflicts, which is being played up by the West, but none of the powers involved is prepared to give a military guarantee of support in order to extinguish it.

To be clear, it is not about Ukraine, certainly not about improving the living conditions of the Ukrainian population. Rather, it looks as if the local conflict that has been smoldering since the Maidan upheaval will be further fueled as a proxy war, at best frozen by new "Minsk" negotiations. What is at stake, however, is an attempt to force Russia, like the Soviet Union in its day, into an arms race in order to bring it down economically.

All of this brings back memories that one thought had long been overcome: After the end of World War II and the use of atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, George Orwell described in his book "1984" a future formed by three great power blocs - Eurasia, Oceania and East Asia. On their borders, where the zones of influence overlap, they constantly wage wars, which, however, do not substantially change the basic constellation between them. The wars are waged by special forces, while the populations within the major power blocs are kept quiet in a permanent state of emergency under the slogan "war is peace" by full technical control, including mental and health surveillance. Anyone who questions this kind of peace will be outsourced or annihilated altogether.

A few sentences from Orwell's vision, more precisely from Chapter III "War is Peace," may clarify this kind of peace, which can make us think today: "In one combination or another" he writes, "these three superstates are constantly at war, and have been for twenty-five years. War, however, is no longer the desperate war of annihilation it was in the early decades of the twentieth century. It is warfare with limited objectives between opponents who are incapable of destroying each other, who have no material cause for war, and who are not divided by a genuine ideological difference. (...)

The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. (...) For if all people lived equally in leisure and security, the great mass of people, normally stultified by their poverty, would educate themselves and thus learn to think for themselves; and once this happened, sooner or later they would realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. A return to the agrarian past, as dreamed by some thinkers at the beginning of the twentieth century, was not a viable solution. (...)

Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in poverty by curbing commodity production. The problem was how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real wealth of the world. Goods had to be produced, but they could not be distributed. And in practice, the only way to accomplish this was through continuous warfare. The essential act of war is the destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. (...)

War not only, as will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable manner. (...) It does not matter whether the war actually takes place, and since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war goes well or badly. It is only necessary that a state of war exists. (...) War today is waged by every ruling group against its own subjects, and the goal of war is not to achieve or prevent territorial conquests, but to keep the social structure intact. (...) a truly permanent peace would be the same as a permanent war. This is (...) the inner meaning of the party slogan: WAR IS PEACE."

Of course, this image cannot be transferred one-to-one to today. There are still cultural differences between Euramerica, Russia and China. With the global advent of digital capitalism, they tend to shrink to folkloric peculiarities. The resources needed for industrial development are not yet evenly distributed. Gas supplies are still being fought over. However, the development of new energy sources, including the further expansion of nuclear power plants, is on the horizon. Technical control of the population is not yet perfect or globally unified. Placement in a regime of public health has not yet become a daily ritual before the "eye" of "Big Brother," as Orwell describes it.

But basic elements of a development such as Orwell describes are emerging from the fog of current war propaganda, at least as practiced by the West, namely, attempts to drive the population into acceptance of a constant exceptional situation in which war appears as the guarantor of peace.

What do we have to counter this? That is the question. The answer is - may we say so? - Basically, it is quite simple: to do exactly what the warmongering forces do not want: To think for ourselves, to look for ways of cooperation ourselves, to build bridges ourselves, both on a small and a large scale. Is there any other way? Hardly.

The same author published "Russia, Heartbeat of a World Power".

Kai Ehlers is an independent publicist, researcher and book author. His work focuses on developments in the states of the former Soviet sphere of influence and their local and global consequences. In Germany, he is involved in the debate on social alternatives. For more information, visit http://www.kai-ehlers.de.
Related Categories: U.S. | Anti-War
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