In the Middle Ages, next to the monarch’s throne, a figure with a clumsy theatrical attitude emerged, ridiculously dressed and who made sharp jokes with what he heard or intuited. Those cheeky sarcasms from the joker they said in solfa what the king’s pimps did not dare.
It would be interesting to know if Vladimir Putin has such an assistant. In such a case, I would whisper in his ear that the war adventure in the Ukraine no longer has the destination it supposed and his epitaph has just been carved by the recent NATO summit in Vilnius.
As a tribe of analysts and observers amuses themselves by discussing whether or not Ukraine should join the Atlantic Alliance and whether it is a good or bad thing to do so, the organization, which is an extension of the rebuilt US power, has made the European country a visible member of the body.
“To be or not to be is not relevant” says President Joe Biden about a fact that his Ukrainian colleague Volodimir Zelenski is clear about. Virtuality counts.
For that conclusion it is not necessary to read the fine print on Article 5 of the military structure that requires joint action if a member is attacked. This device is the one that prevents the ranking of Ukraine as the 33rd member of the club that reigned in the Cold War. If this formal step were taken, NATO should be launched on Russia.
It is easy to establish the tactical uselessness of such a movement. The important thing to observe, and burdensome for Russia, on the other hand, is that the organization he turned that impediment into an exercise in imagination. That is why Ukraine already operates as part of NATO. No license. No need, says Biden.
As if clarifications were necessary, the Alliance announced the creation of a Permanent Council that unites NATO members with Ukraine. “at the level of equals” to discuss war and postwar. Zelenski’s protests due to the absence of a calendar for joining the Alliance remain for the anecdotes of political speeches.
The East-West Clash
The sense that defines the whole picture is the war itself, not strictly the suffering of Ukraine. That difference is important. The conflict exhibits a diversity of dimensions that concentrate the attention of the East-West axis, which is waging the real dispute over the Ukrainian territory.
In the process, the war rescued the United States from its strategic dispersion and placed the fate of the Russian offensive in a mere matter of time, unfailing. That is perhaps why inmates break out like the recent paramilitary mutiny against Putin’s castle.
The decline of the stage has just been painted in a brutal way by the first edition of July The Economist with a face of Putin on the cover disintegrating to pieces and the left ear dead, falling over the shoulder. It’s what the jester would shout at the Russian tsar.
The Western Alliance, meanwhile, has grown into a formidable military machine targeting the main stage of the dispute for world hegemony in the asia pacific. Putin has thus been the involuntary partner of the Western hawks who see China as the enemy to beat and have done the necessary gymnastics with the absurd war on Ukraine.
In Vilnius, by the way, the special guests were Japan, Australia, South Korea and New Zealand. China’s rivals in the Asia-Pacific, the space that power claims as untouchable.
This edition of the NATO summit celebrated the entry of Sweden. a step that cuts Russia off some control for its fleet in the Baltic Sea. Peter the Great, in whose mirror the disproportionate Russian leader gazes, gained that dominance three centuries ago after a 21-year war. With that victory he turned his homeland into an empire. Today he would reproach Putin for suicidal recklessness of putting the clocks so far back.
Swedish membership was obtained with the endorsement of the Turkish Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the influential crony of Russian leader that exchanged the agreement in exchange for a renewed fleet of fighters and some concessions from Stockholm against the Kurdish community based in that country. He also operated the eventual reopening of Ankara’s chance to join the European Union.
A few months ago Finland joined doubling the Alliance border against Russia. A geopolitical scenario that, due to its significant provocative nature, was unimaginable two years ago, but which has now been configured on the back of the warlike madness in Ukraine.
These new NATO partners defended for decades a pragmatic neutrality, behavior that suited Moscow. The abrupt strategic turn, by contrast, leaves the Kremlin surrounded. That ordering power that the conflict has had also shapes the future.
Ukraine will no longer be what it was. The birth of a new Israel is foreseen, a concept of security and assistance that even Biden uses (Israel is, together with Egypt, the country that has received the most military aid from the US in recent history).
Western support, even beyond the post-war reconstruction, seeks to consolidate a wall in front of the humiliated russian nationalism for this nightmare, but it won’t go away.
The question of why Russia could not anticipate this outcome has complex answers. There is a condition of decadence that helps to explain failed behaviors of the powers. In the case of the Federation, a non-central but significant piece of information has been the historical lack of definition as to whether it belongs to Asia or Europe.
Europe or Asia
This debate, which reached political and academic intensity after the end of the communist camp, ended up being blocked by the authoritarian deviation of the regime. But led the country into limbo from which other societies escaped with greater clarity on their foundations, China, the most precise example. Peter the Great, by the way, he was pro-european.
This discussion about the sphere of belonging has exhibited important extremes such as the one carried out by Putin’s political father, former President Boris Yeltsin, that governed the jumps between 91 and 99.
This controversial leader was the one who saved the opening glasnot and perestroika built by his predecessor Mikhail Gorbachev. As early as 1993 he was asking Bill Clinton his interest in planting Russia in NATOeven knowing that the triumphant power of the Cold War was relentlessly advancing on the remains of the Soviet Union.
Along these lines, Yeltsin supported the so-called Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between the Russian Federation and the Atlantic Alliance on May 27, 1997.
that key document signed in Paris, not in Moscow, with the presence of the Russian leader and President Clinton under the watchful eye of host Jacques Chirac, transmuted Russia into a sort of post war germany.
“This Act confirms the determination of Russia and NATO to fulfill their common commitment to build a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe, a whole and free Europe, for the benefit of all its peoples,” it said. A European Russia.
A year after the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the Alliance in 1999, Putin, then in the vice presidency, did not rule out following the path of his boss. “I dont see why not”, told the BBC when asked about Russia’s NATO membership. “I would not rule out such a possibility, but I repeat, as long as Russia’s views are taken into account as those of an equal partner.” There was no opportunity to check.
This year Putin will visit Beijing, possibly in October, to ask for help and assume a dependency with the Asian power that already seems irreversible. The ruble lost 40% of its value last year and the gap between expenses and income that the conflict cut was widened.
The difficulty for the Chinese leaders is that the costs of this nightmare outweigh the gains that the war could promise in terms of colonizing Russia or building a check at Moscow’s expense on Western ambitions.. The initial doubts explain that the decision to support Putin was not unanimous.
The Kremlin is likely to seek to take advantage of the swamp that it has built because the worst business for the Chinese hierarchs would be to contribute to Western victory by withdrawing their hand from the Russian leader. At the same time, Beijing is clear about the inconveniences that the board shows and its dangerous drifts.
He has just warned against any “NATO move east and Asia-Pacific” and repudiated the “Cold War mentality” which effectively exhibit the statements of the Western leadership. That’s what it’s all about. The last to be surprised should be the heirs of the thousand-year-old Asian power.
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