The Ukrainian burden

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By HUGO DIONÍSIO*

Europe helps defend Ukraine, without needing its own defense

The USA, in Europe, behaved like true arsonists. Like any arsonist, they studied the terrain, identifying the main points conducive to propagation and combustion, finally, they caused the ignition and, like a painter, in the perspective and security that only distance can provide, they enjoy their destructive work today. Satiated with their incendiary thirst, they turn away and leave the victims in charge of fueling the fire they so calculatedly created.

The last approval process for the 61 billion dollars, with its difficulties, advances and setbacks, was already the result of this internal tension. The anxiety of exploiting a hotbed of tension in the Pacific that “contains China”, as well as the need to turn to Israel and its pyromaniac on duty, Netanyahu, led to an internal struggle that was responsible for a sharp drop in supplies to Kiev .

If between April 2022 and September 2023, every quarter, the USA sent at least 7.8 billion dollars in “aid”, even reaching 14.7 billion between July and September 2022, already in the period October 2023 As of March 2024, Kiev has only received $1.7 billion. Data Kiel Institute, Ukraine Support Tracker.

Although the amounts have, in the meantime, risen again, at least until we see it, the truth is that, contrary to what was said so much in the media mainstream, it is the European Union and its member states that receives the largest share of “aid”. Until April 2024, the European Union and its member states have committed 177.8 billion euros, while the USA only contributes 98.7 billion euros.

But this number alone tells us a lot about who is really paying the cost of fueling the fire spreading across the USA. While the USA and the Member States of the European Union, bilaterally, essentially send weapons, equipment that must be paid for, in the case of European Union institutions, what is sent is essentially money. Either outright or in the form of loans in which Ukraine receives the money and the European Commission pays the interest and provides guarantees that future payments are made. The path things take tells us who will bear this payment.

Furthermore, these figures do not include expenditure on refugees which, between Germany and Poland alone, exceeds 50 billion euros in subsidies, housing and other types of support. Even in terms of armament, although the USA, when it comes to some types (howitzers and MLRS) takes the largest share, when we go to tanks, air defense and infantry vehicles, it is the Europeans who send the most, many of these systems supplied despite the lack of protection of its own defenses, which, as we know, does not happen with the USA. Europe helps to defend Ukraine, without needing to defend itself. This is the level of commitment reached.

If these data alone already show us who is bearing the Ukrainian burden on their shoulders, the numerous statements by government officials in Washington, who urge Europe (read the European Union) to assume greater responsibility in the matter Ukrainian, there are other signs that point to the fact that the US is about to assume a commanding stance, entering when necessary and only if, strategically, this is justified.

A Heritage Foundation, very important think thanks conservative, responsible for 64% of the measures that Donald Trump applied in his first year in office as president, has already prepared his Mandate for Leadership (Mandate for Leadership), in this case for 2025, which lists an entire vast government strategy, starting in 2025, under Donald Trump. Although, as we know, in matters of defense and foreign policy, there is little difference between Democrats and Republicans, between Biden and Trump. If Trump says he will end the war in Ukraine, Biden, between promises of unconditional support, in practice and in deeds, without ending it, leaves the responsibility to the Europeans.

O Mandate for Leadership 2025 points to the following premises, with an impact on the war taking place on Ukrainian soil: (i) “By far, the most significant danger to the security, freedom and prosperity of Americans is China”, with Russia being a real threat, but not decisive; (ii) “Prioritize building U.S. conventional force planning to defeat a Chinese invasion of Taiwan before allocating resources to other missions, such as simultaneously fighting another conflict".

(iii) “US allies must assume a responsibility much bigger for its conventional defense”; (iv) “Make burden sharing a central part of U.S. defense strategy, not only helping allies advance, but strongly encouraging them to do so”. And now the grand finale: (v) Transform NATO so that U.S. allies are able to mobilize the vast majority of conventional forces needed to deter Russia, while relying on the United States primarily for our nuclear deterrence, and select other capabilities, while reducing the US force posture in Europe.

With Donald Trump, certainly, but everything points to the fact that also with Joe Biden, this will certainly be the US military strategy for the coming years. The USA sees itself mainly dealing with the deterrent component, supported mainly by the nuclear triad. It is also an economic issue. At a distance from a Supreme Commander, the USA intends to hand over the more expensive, costly and exhausting fight of attrition to what they call “allies”, reserving for themselves the fillet mignon.

Nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, bombers and other strategic means, of greater value and greater return to the American GDP, but also of greater strategic significance, which is valid for scaring enemies and containing allies. All of these services are the responsibility of the imperial headquarters. The allies retain the artillery, medium and short range means and everything of a tactical and operational dimension.

But don't think that the US doesn't have a say in these dimensions. Once again, let us return to Mandate for Leadership: “Prioritize the U.S. and allies under the “domestic end product” and “domestic components” requirements of the Act Build America, Buy America".

Manufacturing components and end products domestically and with allies stimulates factory development, grows American jobs, and builds resilience in America's defense industrial base.

In other words, if we add to this the deepening of “interoperability”, as well as the “onshoring” of production, the USA also finds itself producing to sell to “allies”, or placing “allies” to produce under license or in close cooperation and supervision (friendshoring). Eventually and if successful, the Europeans will no longer have their own weapons or, those that they do have, will be produced under North American license, as they incorporate components whose industrial property belongs to them.

It is important to say here that what many fail to identify when they criticize the difficulties of interoperability and standardization within NATO's armament. This reality has constituted, over the years, a line of defense, on the part of European countries, against the seizure, by the USA, of the sectors with the greatest added value of their military industry.

When this last barrier is overcome, nothing will prevent the full implementation of the American strategy for Europe. Europe buys, they sell, Europe produces, they authorize, Europe fights, where they rule. The “allied” countries will be transformed into mere expeditionary forces that function according to Washington’s strategic designs.

But it is not only these gains that the North American strategy for Ukraine was made from. Ukraine served as a driving force for groups such as the neo-Nazi group Centuria, which today has more than 25.000 members in various NATO countries in Western Europe. This type of groups guarantees that, leaving the most operational terrain, the USA will be able to maintain the strong Russophobic nature of Western military forces, guaranteeing the continuity of friction with the Russian Federation.

On the other hand, after securing the best Ukrainian assets, with the source exhausted, the US gives Europe an internecine struggle, which not only weakens or, at least, keeps Russia occupied, but also prevents Europe from having access to cement. that makes economies competitive: cheap energy and raw materials. By promoting confusion between NATO and the European Union, they also guarantee that the dreams of the European army and strategic autonomy will come to an end. They guarantee that any and all decisions of defensive or offensive interest, which matter to the European Union, also matter to NATO and, by extension, come under the control of the USA.

Finally, a European Union that coincides with NATO and hands over its strategic defense plan to the USA, guarantees the USA that the desired European project, from Lisbon to Vladivostok, which would guarantee a self-sufficient Europe from an energy, food and mineral point of view and technology is delayed indefinitely and captured by divisive Atlanticism.

This way, the US is free to focus on “containing China”. And for those who traditionally believe that Washington is not interested in the Sino-Russian union, it is essential to appreciate this premise in light of current reality. The fact is that, by not being able to separate the two, at this moment, for the USA, the Sino-Russian union may have its advantages.

Living up to the principle that in a crisis there is an opportunity, the USA knows that the best way to guarantee Europe's distance from China lies in its attachment to Russia. The closer and more involved in the Ukrainian conflict Europe is, the greater rejection it will feel towards China. In other words, a Europe that is more antagonized towards Russia, as is in the interests of the USA, will also be a Europe that, increasingly, will look with greater distrust towards China and its Union towards its enemy.

This way, the US will be sure that it can leave the burden of fueling the Ukrainian conflict to Europe, at the same time as it decouples from China and allows the US to build a world in two blocks, a new cold war. Thus, we can say that, at least tactically and in the short-medium term, the Sino-Russian union could come in handy for the White House.

And seen things like this, it will be very simple for anyone to be able to have a perspective of North American pride, when they look at their work from afar and see in it the fundamental pillar for maintaining their global hegemony. And even more so when all of this is paid for and well paid for by the European Union, the member states and the European peoples, who, with greater or lesser resistance, are still happy to fuel a fire in which we will all burn.

Let us hope that the clouds that are foreseen with the victory of the CDU in Germany and the words of its leader Friedrich Merz, when he mentioned that “the time has come to put an end to the conflict”, translate into a strategic reversal and are capable of containing all the destruction desired by Washington.

Otherwise, we will still pay to watch our own death. This is the burden that the USA has placed on all of Europe. It is up to the Europeans to remove him as soon as possible.

*Hugo Dionísio is a lawyer, geopolitical analyst, researcher at the Studies Office of the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP-IN).

Originally published in Strategic Culture Foundation.


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