Sooner or later, Russia’s war against Ukraine will end and talk of winners and losers will begin. Whatever the details, there is only one winner so far, and that is America. Most other parties are losers up until now, except for China. When the war is over, this is what the situation will look like: Ukraine, especially the east of the country, has been razed to the ground. Russia gathers its belongings and heads east. Europe is thinking of a way out, and the US is at the peak of its happiness because it is the biggest winner. The consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be felt by coalitions around the world. The winner of this situation will be China and the strategic loser will be Europe. We are facing Western politicians whose concerns are the elections, but the losses of their countries will be greater.
Ukraine War & US Goals
The US goal is to eliminate Russia rather than support Ukraine. It is not surprising then that Washington has been escalating tensions in the war and intensifying its economic confrontation with Russia since day one. In this war, Washington has a rare opportunity to organise its cards in Europe and the world in a way that would guarantee its dominance for decades to come.
In the long-term , the US plan in this war is to achieve the following goals: bring Russia to its knees, make Europe further reliant on itself, and teach China that if it is thinking about the annexation of Taiwan, it must learn from Russia’s fate in Ukraine. The United States is passionate about sending weapons of war and providing security and intelligence assistance to Ukraine with the aim of inflicting the greatest damage on Russia and drowning it in the Ukrainian quagmire.
The US position, tainted by the consequences of the war on Russia, is worrying European countries and fanning fears about the future. Europe knows that the collapse of Russia is not in the continent’s interest because it is part of Europe’s political, economic and human geography. In case of a collapse, Europe will face huge strategic, political and economic losses. Hence, Europe is working hard – an effort that has so far been futile to thwart the US plan. European leaders are also trying to prevent their hostility towards Russia from reaching the level desired by Washington. Germany is part of this logic as an importer of Russian gas. Europe is content to send certain types of weapons to Ukraine. The refusal of French President Emmanuel Macron to describe the events in Ukraine as genocide falls within the same framework.
Russia’s Strategic Allies
To answer the question of whether Washington will be able to achieve its goal of bringing Russia to its knees, it is likely to succeed for a certain amount of time because Western sanctions will certainly have a severe impact on Russia’s economy. But decision-makers in Washington need to keep in mind that Russia is not alone. China, as well as India and many other countries around the world, are standing with Russia. Non-Western public opinion in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America is also with Russia. Moscow has the tools and resources to tempt these countries to stand by it, or at least to remain neutral.
Lack of Consensus
European diplomats say that the representatives of EU member states have repeatedly failed to reach an agreement on a Russian oil embargo. Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian oil, has been a vocal opponent of the embargo, calling it similar to an “atomic bombing” of its economy. The EU needs the approval of all its members to reach such an agreement. “We will be able to offer an agreement to EU leaders,” said Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief. Representatives of these countries have not been able to submit a proposal for an agreement that would ban the import of Russian oil to the European Union until the end of this year.
US, EU Will Never Cut Russia off SWIFT
Emphasising the alliance between the United States and Europe to counter Russia’s invasion of Ukraine with comprehensive economic sanctions, Joe Biden said the United States and Europe are united in their efforts to counter Russia’s war with aggressive sanctions. However, he acknowledged that their numbers were not enough to defeat Russia’s use of SWIFT.
Although Russia is not an industrial economy, its major role in supplying raw materials to world markets has meant that sanctions have had a devastating effect on global markets and the level of production in industrial economies. Russia’s lion’s share of supplying raw materials and its removal from the global markets has created shortages and rising prices.
Will Sanctions be Helpful?
The US policy of imposing sanctions and replacing regimes has failed in many cases, while Russia is a larger country with a more resilient economy than other countries under sanctions. After all, Putin, like other authoritarian leaders, will use war and sanctions to consolidate his dominance over Russian society and economy.
If the Ukraine war and sanctions against Russia continue, Europe will no doubt experience a recession which will easily spread to the United States. This may reach a point where an extreme right-wing regime will re-emerge in this country by winning Biden in the next election. Europe is rightly concerned about the impact of the war on energy prices, but a more serious threat to the whole world is the sharp rise in food prices. Russia and Ukraine account for more than 30% of global wheat exports and 17% of corn exports. Estimates suggest that next year, world grain prices will rise by 22%.
It is therefore important that Europe and the United States refrain from tying sanctions to the overthrow and replacement of the regime in Russia, and instead explicitly link sanctions to a diplomatic process to end the war.
Former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, called on the West to refrain from trying to impose a heavy defeat on Russian forces in Ukraine, and warned that this would have long-term consequences for European stability.
“The confrontation between the United States on the one hand and Russia and China on the other may continue for decades, and Russia’s victory means the culmination of post-World War II achievements,” said Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to graduate students at the West Point Military Academy.
Clement Bonn, French minister for European foreign affairs, recently said that Ukraine’s bid to join the European Union could take up to 20 years to complete. As for Kiev’s accession to NATO, it would take longer if it were not impossible. The remarks come as the French Government explicitly acknowledges that it was wrong not to respond to Russian demands before its invasion of Ukraine, and that Zelensky’s insistence on joining NATO and the European Union was a big mistake.
Consequences of Russia-China Rapprochement
All these predictions are important because they have been made by decision-makers in Western military and political institutions. But what was said in Kissinger’s speech at the Davos summit is the most important prediction because of his influence on the US Government, especially Joe Biden, as well as his long experience in international affairs and East-West relations. Kissinger warned Biden of any rapprochement between Russia and China because of the dangers this could pose to the United States and its dominance of world leadership. But Biden ignored his advice. The United States is now strengthening ties between the two superpowers and bringing them closer together by inciting the Russians to invade Ukraine and besiege China against their will. Bringing Russia and China into a five- or six-party alliance with emerging regional powers such as India, Pakistan, Iran, Brazil and Venezuela has been a miscalculation by the United States and Europe.
Undoubtedly, the United States and Europe betrayed Ukraine and played it as a joke with the Russian bear who was not joking – until the Russians invaded Ukraine. While President Biden says: “We will never send troops to Ukraine”, the German Chancellor says: “I urge Putin to stop the war. Britain and NATO forces should not play an active role in Ukraine.”
The consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be felt by coalitions around the world. The winner of this situation will be China and the strategic losers will be the United States and Europe.
The lesson we learn from this changing world is that whoever respects the atmosphere of his home front and national reconciliation and walks rationally wins. In this changing world, the message is clear that no one should be trusted. In particular, we are facing a dangerous change at any moment, and it will be different after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.