War & Peace
Although what follows might be highly contentious, I could not resist the urge to write about it. Heck, some might even find it refreshing in the ceaseless deluge of rah-rah coming in on all channels... For the record, and for those of my readers who just joined recently: yours truly is from a tiny nation in Eastern-Central Europe. A country literally torn between Eastern and Western powers ever since losing its own large(ish) power status to the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century. Like many of my fellow citizens, your humble blogger tends to think of himself as an outside viewer to great power politics waged over our head, and since 2014 next door to us. It’s not a reassuring sight, to say the least, but it is what it is.
With that out of the way, let’s see where we are when it comes to the topic of the war in Europe. By risking upsetting a few readers, I must tell it upfront:
the war aimed at extending and thereby preserving unquestioned Western hegemony on the European continent has been decisively and irretrievably lost.
It cost the lives of half a million men — 80–90% of whom died fighting for the western side. The failure is of course blamed on not applying Western doctrine properly or an inadequate amount of equipment, but it was mostly due to a strategy rooted in delusions and dreams of re-fighting WWII. Apparently, Western political and military elites have missed the version number on this one, much to the detriment to the nation they „tried” to preserve.
Technically speaking what we see is not a much hyped “combined arms” operation (invented and perfected by the Germans 80 years ago, who then lost it all to the Allies), but a net-centric war waged by drones, long distance artillery and rocket fire, hyper-sonic missiles and a fully integrated ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) complex. It is a massive operation, backed by an immense manufacturing background. Something which takes enormous scientific and mineral resources, and above all: lots of cheap energy. What has been laid bare for the world to see — among many other rather embarrassing things — is that the West no longer has any of these. Neither the scientific and mineral resources, nor the industrial background and the cheap energy necessary to run it. It’s all gone, duly replaced with money printing, in a wane attempt to keep the hollowed out economies of the West afloat.
After seeing the material facts on the ground (the lack of ammunition and air defense, not to mention the massive enemy fortifications carved into the earth), it should’ve been blatantly obvious that sending people across minefields, only to end up in fire traps, was a suicide mission from the get go. The results speak for themselves: four months and more than ninety-thousand deaths later more land has been lost than recovered. The big “spring-summer-fall-winter-next-spring” counteroffensive was a dud at minimum, and possibly the biggest military debacle of recent history; a pointless massacre on a grandiose scale. It is impossible to overestimate how much damage it, together with the entire war preceding it, has done to the people of the Eastern European nation in question, whose very existence is now on the line.
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With the offensive failed, we have arrived at a tipping point, though, a coming end to the unstable equilibrium seen throughout the year. While the nation trying to recover its former territory has now been fully exhausted (together with their Western allies, whose cupboards are now empty and who increasingly lack the economic capacity to maintain military and financial support at scale), the other side has been slowly and methodically preparing for taking over the remaining territories on its list. Behind the safety of their defensive lines they have amassed a 700–800 thousand man strong, fully integrated and well trained force with tanks, artillery, missiles, drones, air cover and all the rest, ready to prosecute war on an even greater scale.
There is a saying in Western circles, however, that you can make two mistakes when it comes to the largest country on Earth. One is to underestimate it (check, for results see above), and two to overestimate it. Touting how the East will steamroll over the entire European continent firmly falls into that later category. They neither have the force, nor the will to do so — notwithstanding all the claims to the contrary. Insisting on western propaganda lines will simply not help to understand the situation. Contrary to all the myths surrounding it, this war was a result of a complete disregard to the planet’s biggest nuclear superpower’s security concerns, not to mention the distress of its nationals who have found themselves trapped in a civil war since 2014. This conflict can only be ended by resolving these issues, one way or the other.
For the record: last time missile silos and weapons were placed so close to another superpower’s doorstep (in Cuba) the world almost went up in radioactive smoke. The reaction this time was thus all too predictable and duly preluded by a number of clear warnings. In my reading, if the West has proceeded with its expansionist strategy, disregarding all the warnings and historical precedents, then that said strategy must have been intentional. The plan aimed at surrounding and weakening the largest military power on the old continent, however, has catastrophically misfired.
Now, that the war on the battlefield has been lost, will the West decide to put boots on the ground and take a more direct part in the conflict then; thereby risking a nuclear exchange even? This is where uncertainty begins, and where it becomes harder and harder to make any predictions. Although the West — much to the detriment to its own citizens who deserve much better — is led by ideologues with a massive superiority-complex and a rather bizarre nostalgia towards WWII, their military leaders are fully cognizant of the state of their forces and the risk of mutual annihilation.
Not even the most ideologically driven ruling class is a monolith though. Even the most fervent warmongers have their internal opposition with rifts all across the political spectrum. The war in Eastern Europe has just grown these fissures even larger — reminiscence of the many lost wars of the past. Judging by the fact how these battles for supremacy ended for the West on the Asian continent — packing up and leaving hastily — one could reliably bet that this time it won’t be any different in Europe either… One way or the other, the coming disaster on the Eastern European front will lay the political and military failure of the Western alliance bare.
It will be no longer possible to talk about a forever war, a frozen conflict, a stalemate or demilitarized zones: the antagonism between East and West will be settled on Eastern terms, leaving no options for ambiguity or duplicity.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this conflict is that it didn’t have to be this way. Off-ramp after off-ramp was ignored and passed by, and now, after a long series of self deluded, flamboyantly stupid decisions, the West has found itself in a predicament with an outcome, not a problem with a solution. How it will adapt to these new realities or whether they manage to find their place in a multi-polar world is anyone’s guess, but I personally hope that the West would rather walk away than to nuke the world into oblivion. One can never be sure, though…
And finally, what does this has to do with energy and resource depletion, the main themes of this blog? An awful lot. Europe has exhausted its fossil fuel reserves: black coal from the Rhine-valley, oil from the North-sea, gas from the Gröningen field. All of these fuels’ production have peaked and soon will be in decline (if they aren’t already). Whatever supply remains is clearly inadequate to meet the continent’s energy requirements. The same goes to North America. Having spent its best cheap coal, oil and gas reserves, and slowly becoming fully dependent on its unconventional (ie ever more expensive) resources, it must find a replacement fast, before those ever costlier to maintain shale fields start to peak too in a few years time. As Bob McNally, a former presidential adviser told once:
“If we end up being more thirsty for oil than the prevailing forecasts assume, then we’ve got big problems. It would be an era of economy-wrecking, geopolitically destabilising, boom and bust swings. That’s when you will wish for more shale.”
And then there is this vast country taking up the northern half of Eurasia, still possessing vast resources of all kinds. What could be more convenient than to „decolonize” it, turn it into a manageable number of smaller „democracies” and then share the proceeds among friends? Hmm, what could be a more fitting way to achieve this goal than to foment coups and color revolutions in its former member states, from the Caucasus to Eastern Europe, all predictably resulting in civil wars? And if that were not enough: why not drill a few missile silos here and there, and arm their Euro-oriented supporters to the teeth with Western weaponry? Or how about some sanctions, and a ceaseless talk about regime change? I mean, do I really have to ask these questions…? Seriously…? Remember Gaddafi and Libya? „We came, we saw, he died! [she laughs]” – and now all of their oil money lines the packets of our friendly fossil fuel companies. How terribly convenient… except for Libyans.
I get that this might sound extremely uncomfortable and cause a great deal of cognitive dissonance, but it is what it is. You might say that all this is propaganda, or even worse: a conspiracy theory. Fine. I would have been greatly untrue to the name of this blog, if I did not raise these controversial questions though.
These topics must be discussed in the open, the evidence reviewed and politicians asked under oath. There is no other way.
Democracy dies in the dark; and when energy supply becomes insecure the lights can go out pretty darn quick. The sooner average voters discover this basic truth, the sooner a change for the better can emerge. It won’t solve the predicament we are in, but at least it would help to adapt to its consequences. The massive super-organism sucking the planet dry, and waging wars against other super-organisms in the same business, serves only its own best interests, not yours, not mine. Yet, it somehow feels empowered to make these terrible decisions on our behalf, and at the cost of other people’s lives. Make your own judgement.
One thing is for sure, the coming energy and resource decline will create more and more conflicts of this kind with smaller and smaller fig leafs barely covering the true motives behind. It doesn’t matter which side you root for: it will eventually catch up on all of us. East, West, North, South. It doesn’t matter. We share the same planet.
The problem lies not with the people, but this mindless industrial paradigm we are all trapped in.
One, which is based on a set of finite, unevenly distributed resources without which, there is no way to continue this civilization. With or without war. The only difference is weather we let this unsustainable civilization go down screaming in horror, or we give at least a slim chance for peace and for future generations to find a way past this massive bottleneck.
As one German general told his superiors near the end of WWII:
“Make peace, you fools.”
Until next time,
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