Red line

Image: Tima Miroshnichenko


The main Western powers, led by the USA, are forcing what a few years ago seemed a distant possibility: a global war

The expression “red line” was repeatedly used by Vladimir Putin before the invasion of Ukraine. In fact, although NATO, taking advantage of the moment of chaos in Russia in the 1990s, violated the agreement not to include former Soviet Union countries in its ranks, Russia had established a clear “territorial limit”, that should not be exceeded, and that limit was precisely Ukraine. This was the “red line”.

Of course, if it could, Russia would have prevented many of the countries that were part of the famous “iron curtain” from joining NATO, notably Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in addition to Ukraine, due to border issues. It is not pleasant for any country to have an enemy neighbor, especially one with nuclear war capabilities, installed on the other side of its border. I doubt that the United States would allow Mexico to sign an agreement with Russia to install nuclear warheads on its territory.

It is a fact that Vladimir Putin is a dictator who took advantage of Russia's chaotic situation to implement his personal power project. Almost no one doubts the atrocities that have been committed, by both sides, after the Russian invasion. Suddenly, the world realized that the gentlemen's agreement of the “cold war” had not only ended, with the collapse of the Soviet bloc, but also that we were on the brink of a third world war, perhaps the last.

The big problem is that Vladimir Putin is not alone in trying to make the catastrophe clock strike midnight. On the contrary, the main Western powers, led by the United States, are forcing what just a few years ago seemed like a distant possibility: a global war.

In this sense, Russia's denunciation of the “direct participation” of Western powers in war in ukraine, based on the leak of a confidential conversation between high-ranking German military personnel about the supply of weapons to Kiev, seems to confirm the suspicion of several international sources, media, researchers, historians, political scientists, etc., that the West is more eager than rejects the possibility of an armed global conflict.

I am sure, dear reader, that the only obstacle preventing the conflict from breaking out is still the issue of Russia's nuclear power. In the absence of a more direct and bloody option to overthrow Russia, the West has been trying to make it bleed since Ukraine was invaded. However, despite the numerous confiscations of Russian assets abroad, the Russian economy continues to show signs of life and, what is worse for the West, it seems to be enduring these last two troubled years better than many NATO countries.

Therefore, it has been a systematic error for the United States, as the lead country in this military agreement, to encourage the shipment of Western weapons to the front of war. It is more than obvious that Ukraine cannot win a war in which it is weaker than the Russian opponent, at least by traditional means, that is, by war with non-nuclear weapons. Really, the only concrete chance Ukraine has is the complete involvement of Western powers.

But this would violate the so-called “gentleman's agreement” to leave nuclear weapons out of skirmishes between the United States and Russia (heir to the bankrupt Soviet bloc). It doesn't take a scientist to imagine the enormity of the damage that a war between Russia – perhaps with China at its side – and the Western bloc, launching thousands of nuclear warheads side by side, would cause to the planet. It would be Armageddon!

The American systematic error is worsened by what also appears to be a strategic error, namely, trying to suffocate a country the size and history of Russia. During World War II, it was relatively easy for the Allies to surround Nazi Germany on all sides when Italian fascism had collapsed and Japan was so far away. But, in a way, this was only possible with the primary participation of the Red Army, which contributed greatly to the overthrow of the Third Reich.

Now, thinking about today, how would Russia be surrounded? How could European countries the size of Brazilian states (comparatively, since I write from Brazil) could territorially overshadow a country like Russia, which has almost the same size as the ten other largest countries in Europe combined, namely Ukraine, France, Spain? , Sweden, Norway, Germany, Finland, Poland Italy and the United Kingdom? The largest Western states, the United States and Canada, are on the other side of the Atlantic.

If fate does not favor us and China shows solidarity with Russia, which is not impossible, we will all be screwed, dear reader. And note that everything said above did not include India, another emerging power, as it is the most obscure at the moment, in terms of geopolitical positioning.

I believe that it is now easier to understand the size of the mess that the war between Russia and Ukraine represents. If the conflict escalates, there is no way to expect an eventual global war between the two antagonistic political blocs to happen without the Earth being devastated. Even if the war is conventional, along the lines of the Second World War, but with the use of more technology, the devastation of the planet will be much more intense, due to the endless drones, the catastrophic ballistic missile war, the trench warfare, the cost to the globe of many years of destruction, the countless human losses, especially civilians, etc. And there is still the most serious possibility that one of the sides is not satisfied and decides to end the war using nuclear bombs. What will be left?

Maybe that's why Pope Francis has been so restless lately. Days ago he once again defended a negotiated peace. He stated, without fear of reprisal, that the weaker side needs to recognize this and negotiate, even if this apparent weakness does not mean its complete capitulation. It was harshly criticized by Ukraine and several Western countries. But he's right.

In the animal world, the weakest negotiate to not die. The human animal has always negotiated with its superior so as not to become extinct. Societies that did not negotiate in the face of a greater power were wiped out of history, such as Troy and the indigenous people of the American continent. It turns out that the West has not allowed Ukraine to negotiate.

If nothing changes in international politics soon, or worse, if Vladimir Putin understands that the scenario has become even more dangerous for Russia – at this moment, British soldiers are on Ukrainian soil to teach the Ukrainian Armed Forces how to use the most modern missiles that they have –, the time will come when we will no longer listen to the Pope’s appeals. There will be no more Pope.

* André Márcio Neves Soares is a doctoral student in Social Policies and Citizenship at the Catholic University of Salvador (UCSAL).

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