Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Other casualties of the Russian attack on Ukraine

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This Cedar Lounge Revolution article is valuable reading.

If anything were calculated to push people in under NATO’s umbrella – Nordic states, that have been hesitant to do so, most immediately, this will do…

Other casualties of the Russian attack on Ukraine

If anything were calculated to push people in under NATO’s umbrella – Nordic states, that have been hesitant to do so, most immediately, this will do so.

Opendemocracy notes the dynamic in this piece here from someone on the ground in Russia (thanks to KT). 

Thanks to Putin’s policy, more and more countries want to join the bloc, and Russia’s position is deteriorating. The outcome of the coming war is likely to include Sweden’s entry into NATO, and public opinion in Finland has also changed. During Putin’s rule, Russia has offered nothing to European countries to make NATO membership unattractive for them. On the contrary, thanks to the real danger of aggression from Russia, NATO again makes sense as a security option and its strengthening has begun to look like a basic development option for Europeans. Under Putin, the NATO bloc has become stronger than ever.

And the threat from NATO is overstated. To put it mildly.

At the same time, Russian generals who have the courage to speak out honestly admit that NATO poses no immediate threat to Russia. NATO is a possible adversary, but an attack by NATO is not a first- or even second-order challenge. Russia, my country, faces greater threats. We will likely lose energy export revenues as a result of the global energy transition. Our attractiveness as a centre of culture, a scientific power and a zone of human development is diminishing. We are losing any semblance of cultural and ideological hegemony. We are likely to fall into heavy dependence on China. The conquest of Russia by NATO, by contrast, is the personal fear of Putin, who is afraid to share the fate of Colonel Gaddafi. He is afraid that he will not be able to crush any uprising at any cost. Russia’s interests are contrary to Putin’s interests. And so he acts in his own interests, strengthening NATO and pushing it closer to Russia’s borders – creating a noose around Russia’s neck that it is going to be very difficult to escape.

There are many tragedies in this, that Russia is held hostage to a single individual and his interests is one such.

But the sheer counterproductive nature of this belligerence is difficult to understand. At a stroke Putin has burned through all sorts of credit to what purpose? Economic and political capital is gone. He’s plunged the state he is in charge of into an entirely avoidable situation. And strategically he has handed a huge win  to his supposed adversaries.

Fred Kaplan expands on this on here:

Earlier on Thursday, as the country’s stock market tanked for the second day in a row, Putin held a televised meeting with Russian big businessmen. Alexander Shokhin, the group’s leader, told Putin. “Everything should be done to demonstrate as much as possible that Russia remains part of the global economy and will not provoke…global negative phenomena on world markets.” He seemed nervous while making the statement—a strong, if implicit critique of Putin’s policies—but the fact that he said this at all should raise eyebrows.

In the long run, Putin’s adventure in Ukraine may prove a gigantic blunder. Even now, it has thrown an enormous wrench in Putin’s broad foreign-policy strategy, which, for the past decade, has been to intensify fissures within the EU and to drive wedges between Washington and its NATO allies. Putin’s aggression against Ukraine has patched those fissures, elevated America’s leadership role, and unified the alliance more solidly than at any time since the end of the Cold War.

He notes that that could fritter away. But I wonder. A ‘demilitarised’ and occupied Ukraine sitting in the heart of Europe? That’s a difficult one to ignore. And others will take note.

All this is on Putin.

And to take a hyper-local angle, although that seems borderline insensitive given what is happening, it is far from implausible that this will give an enormous fillip to those on this island arguing for a push some away from neutrality. Indeed already there are calls to do so this morning in the media.

Written by tomasoflatharta

Feb 25, 2022 at 12:38 pm

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