Normally I vary my topics from one day to the next, but the events in the Ukraine are so momentous that it would be frivolous to write about anything else.
By and large, the press is treating the Ukraine as a proxy in a confrontation between Russia and the EU. That may be, but it’s a curious confrontation, for Russia wins whoever the ostensible winner will ultimately be.
There are two possible scenarios on offer, with a few subplots.
Scenario 1 is that the Ukraine rejoins the Soviet Union (by whatever name Col. Putin favours), either as a constituent republic or, more likely, an obedient ally.
Scenario 2 is that the Ukraine forms a partnership with the EU, either as a full member or, more likely, a dependent adjunct.
In Scenario 1, Col. Putin will be an instant winner. A de facto reunification of Russia and the Ukraine would constitute a significant step towards undoing what Putin sees as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century”, the collapse of the USSR.
This would create a monolithic bloc of the three Slavic components of the USSR, Belarus being the third and already in the fold. Add to this Kazakhstan with its tremendous natural resources, and Putin’s immediate goal would have been achieved there and then.
But it wouldn’t stop there. All other Soviet republics, with the exception of the three Baltic ones, would immediately lose whatever leverage they have vis-à-vis Putin’s Zollverein. Never completely independent of Russia anyway, they’d be drawn into an even narrower circle of hell than the one they occupy currently.
The Soviet Union would rise like Phoenix in all but name, and Col. Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin would justifiably feel he’s as much of an emperor as Col. Nikolai Alexandrovich Romanov (commonly known as Nicholas II) ever was.
This much has been pointed out by numerous commentators, displaying variable command of historical and geopolitical facts but an invariably accurate grasp of the possible ramifications.
Where a void exists is in the analysis of Scenario 2, which admittedly is less straightforward.
The starting point of this analysis ought to be an accurate take on Putin’s mentality, and that of his whole Mafioso clique. This was formed not by Russian but by Soviet imperial aspirations.
The difference is telling. Though the Russian Empire had seen itself as the Third Rome since the fifteenth century, before it actually became an empire, her ambitions never included global domination.
Soviet ambitions did, as revealed by the USSR national emblem featuring a hammer and sickle superimposed on the globe. Even Soviet songs incessantly hailed the coming of a new era, with every country in the world added to the existing Soviet republics.
Col. Putin’s sponsoring organisation was at the cutting end of this strategy, both as its formulator and executor. It’s naïve to think that, now he has found himself at the helm, he’ll abandon the strategy faithfully pursued by his illustrious predecessors, such as Beria, Shelepin, Andropov and Gorbachev.
The EU is clearly seen as the lynchpin of this strategy, a much more promising one than the USSR. Starting with Gorbachev, all post-Soviet chieftains have been dropping broad hints to this effect.
It was Gorbachev who first referred, in his 1994 Nobel lecture, to “our common European home”. However, he seemed to be rather hazy on what constitutes Europe. Specifically, Gorbachev spoke of “…the European space from the Atlantic to the Urals…”. “Since it includes the Soviet Union,” he added, “which reaches the Pacific, it extends over the nominal geographic borders…”
Speaking in unison, Gen. Shevardnadze, former Soviet Foreign Minister, talked about “Great Europe from the Atlantic to Vladivostok” which would constitute “a united military space”, dominated by you know whom. Other post-Soviet spokesmen further expanded the geographic borders of Europe, this time “from the Atlantic to Vladivostok” and even, alliteratively, “from Vancouver to Vladivostok”.
It’s interesting that Gorby still talked about the Soviet Union in 1994. After all, every child knows that the Soviet Union no longer existed at that time, and the area of the former Soviet Union that lies between the Urals and the Pacific is in Asia, not in Europe.
What every child doesn’t know, and neither do many of our grown-up analysts, is that “geographic borders” have become “nominal”. In other words, “Europe” is not a geographical but an ideological concept.
We must learn to take the tyrants at their word. No matter how devious, they tend to say what they mean and do what they say. Whether it’s Hitler’s Mein Kampf, Lenin’s What’s to Be Done or Putin’s speeches, the West would ignore their pronouncements at its peril.
In this instance we must assume that Col. Putin’s strategy involves a gradual undermining of the EU and then, having become a member, its subsequent takeover. This assumption may prove incorrect, but it would be grossly irresponsible not to make it – especially when all signs are pointing that way.
It’s my contention that in Scenario 2 the Ukraine may well be cast in the role of the Trojan Horse. It would immediately contribute to the EU’s enfeeblement and, in the longer run, Russian dominance within it.
Acting on the foolish promises made by EU officials, including our own George Osborne, the Ukraine’s finance minister yesterday submitted what amounts to a bill for services rendered. We need, he said, £21 billion to last until the end of 2015. You wanted real democracy in the Ukraine, didn’t you? Well, put your money where your mouth is.
The EU’s experience with using money for political purposes on this scale is that the original demand is only a point of departure – for the moon. Remember Greece, and how confidently everyone predicted that the first tranche would be the last?
So let’s at least double, or more likely triple, the £21 billion and ask the inevitable question: Where is it going to come from? And if it does come from somewhere, what will it do to the EU economy? Hence the enfeeblement.
Should the Ukraine eventually join the EU, this fundamentally immoral setup will receive an influx of 45 million people utterly corrupted by a 100-year rule of criminal elites, from Lenin to Yanukovych. In due course, the bacilli thus introduced into an already diseased body will weaken it to a point where it won’t be able to resist a Russian takeover.
To use the modern jargon, Col. Putin thus finds himself in a win-win situation. This, I’d suggest, ought to be the angle from which we view the subsequent events.