war in sight

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By RUBEN BAUER NAVEIRA*

Gravity of Ukraine crisis has been underestimated by the West

Unprecedented and unparalleled events in human history, which will dramatically change its course, are about to happen in a matter of months, weeks or even days. This statement may sound preposterous, but it is perfectly understandable in several regions of Asia. It is in the “West” (Americas, Europe, Oceania) that it causes estrangement.

Throughout the West it is not known, or when it is known, it is indifferent to the fact that Russia has given the West an ultimatum for it to withdraw its offensive weapons from the vicinity of its borders. The Russians did not call it an “ultimatum” in order not to further sour relations, and so they did not say what they would do in the face of its refusal. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken stated on Wednesday, January 26, that he does not accept Moscow's claims.

The Russians, however, are not bluffing. They have made it absolutely clear that if they cannot obtain the withdrawal of Western forces through diplomacy, they will obtain it through force ("unilateral measures" was the diplomatic language used). For Russia, this is the ultimate existential question. It knows that the nature of Americans is to impose its hegemony over the rest of the world, and, being extremely rich in natural resources, it realizes that its sovereignty cannot be tolerated. This is why the Americans have been moving offensive weaponry closer and closer to Russian borders (for example missile launch bases at Deveselu in Romania and Redzikowo in Poland – save the names of these cities and be glad you don't live in them) ).

It is in this interregnum that we (the whole world) find ourselves today: the ultimatum has already been rejected by the West, but Russia has not yet set out to confront it.

That there will be some level of confrontation there is no doubt: the Russians know that the Americans do not know how to give in, and that, therefore, they will need to be compelled to do so. More directly, the Russians know that the Americans will only be able to start giving in after they have been hit to some extent - and have felt pain to some extent. The question will be that of "weighing the hand" for what this "measure" is. The stakes will be too high, the confrontation could escalate into a nuclear war.

Parentheses: by way of illustration of how seriously Russians take these risks, already in 2016 the Russian government literally stopped the country for four days – between October 4th and 7th – to train forty million people to go to each one of them to its respective anti-nuclear shelter and how to stay there for a long time (prior to this simulation, the government built new shelters to accommodate over twelve million people, in addition to those inherited from the extinct Soviet Union). In recent years, both the Russian and Chinese governments have been alerting and preparing their populations for the eventuality of a major war, while in the West societies remain kept in the most absolute ignorance about it.

In any case, there is a strong reason why there will never be a nuclear war, even if an open war between the Americans and Russians (and Chinese) does happen: they all know that everyone will lose.

However, any military confrontation at any level between Americans and Russians will represent the opening of a veritable Pandora's Box, after which the world will no longer be able to be the same. Suppose the Russians manage to “frame” the Americans (and they planned for a long time for this), forcing them to leave Eastern Europe, or even to dissolve NATO. What would be the internal consequences for the United States of something like that, which would mortally wound the historic pride of that nation? Would US institutions remain stable? Would the US public debt remain rollable? Would the dollar retain its status as a universal store of value?

Thus, even if there is no direct war between superpowers, there will be enough disturbance in the political, economic and social structures of the planet to support the statement made at the beginning of this text: we are on the threshold of a turning point, a discontinuity, in human history. China, although silent, is coordinated with Russia, and thus what is at stake is a dispute between two antagonistic civilizational models: the western one (hegemonic until now) and the Russian-Chinese one.

The rejection of the Russian ultimatum by the Americans does not mean that it was not taken seriously. Quite the contrary, in the face of dark clouds on the horizon, Americans (and Europeans) set out to seek to isolate Russia from the rest of the world: a narrative was woven according to which Russia will invade Ukraine, and this narrative has been trumpeted in unison to turn the whole world against Putin and the Russian people. Americans, British, Australians and Canadians have already gone so far as to announce the evacuation of non-essential personnel from their embassies in Kiev, as well as the families of essential personnel.

As the Americans do not have the power to order the Russians to invade, the most likely thing is that Ukraine will carry out some provocation against Russia on such a scale that it will oblige the Kremlin to react militarily, and whatever this reaction may be (even if no soldier Russian will set foot on Ukrainian soil), the Russians will be execrated as the “aggressors” of Ukraine, in order to isolate Russia (diplomatically and economically) as much as possible at the world level (sad observation: if it even lends itself to such On paper, the Ukrainian government will have achieved the feat of showing itself to be even more self-indulgent and indifferent to the well-being of its own people than this one here in the tropics).

As for the ultimatum, one might ask: but if the Russians complain that NATO has been expanding towards their borders since the 1990s, why only now? The answer is sinister: because only now are the Russians sure that they now have military superiority over the West (yes, you read that right; for those who disbelieve, it's a matter of wait and see).

As a further aggravating factor of an already critical situation, some international geopolitical analysts maintain that the Russians knew in advance that their ultimatum would be rejected. So why did they do it? The answer is equally somber: the ultimatum was given as if to “comply with a protocol”, that is, for History to record that the Russians tried to resolve the conflict through diplomatic channels, before leaving for the actual course of action.

“Land in sight!” shouted the sailor assigned to duty on the crow's nest, the small basket on top of the tallest mast of the caravels, and his cry expressed hope that they had reached a safe port, but also fear that the land would be populated by enemies. That this warning of War in sight! contribute to warn that times of strong and dramatic changes will come; that the fear of war leads to the absence of war, because no war can be for good; and that hope for better days in the end becomes real, because changes need to be made in this sick world we have arrived at.

Good luck to all of us, because we're going to need it.

*Ruben Bauer Naveira is a retired civil servant and activist. Book author A new utopia for Brazil: three guides to get out of chaos, available for download at http://www.brasilutopia.com.br.

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