We are 36 days into Russia’s “Special Military Operation” in Ukraine and the joint-U.S./NATO response has achieved two concrete results–1) Thanks to a massive, at times crude, propaganda campaign, most people in the West, especially America, are convinced that Russia is evil and has no redeeming qualities; 2) The United States’ post-World War II dominance of the international financial system is now at risk and has made a multi-polar, gold based trade system more likely.
The West’s decision to demonize every thing Russian will be viewed by future historians as a hideous strategic mistake. The reason for the West’s anger is impotence. There was nothing that NATO could do militarily short of starting a nuclear war to thwart Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Rather than deal with the reality of the situation and seek a genuine diplomatic solution that would have addressed Russia’s legitimate security concerns, the vast majority of punditry, politicians and media opted for name calling and meaningless gestures, such as demanding that more weapons be sent to a Ukrainian Army and Air Force that were castrated in the first 24 hours of the invasion.
The decision to take punitive measures against all Russians, not just Putin, proved to be a wake up call to those Russians who harbored some hope of being able to enjoy a cooperative, bilateral relationship with the West. Instead of creating a rift between the Russian populace and Putin, the West’s punishment of Russian athletes, musicians, artists and entrepreneurs strengthened support for the Russian government.
If the West had focused solely on demonizing Putin, the political dynamic in Russia might have changed. The West propaganda campaign, for example, could have pounded out the message that Russia is inherently good but is being led by a madman. (Note–Putin is not a madman. He is a rational nationalist proposing and implementing a course of action that he believes will make Russia more secure). But the West did not do that. Even great artists from the past, Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky come to mind, were vilified and attacked by the juvenile cancel culture that now defines what once passed for Western culture.
I am shocked the U.S. and NATO advisors were so naive and ill-informed about Russia’s true place in the international economy. It is one of the few self-sufficient countries in the world. No other country encompasses 11 time zones. The average American cannot wrap their brain around the fact that the distance from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii constitutes half the size of Russia. Russia sits on a vast reservoir of oil, natural gas, aluminum, palladium, neon, fertilizer and wheat. That’s not all:
The Russian Federation is the largest country in the world. The country’s vast territory makes it the richest nation in terms of natural resource wealth. The nation is a leading producer of coal, diamonds, aluminum, asbestos, gemstones, diamonds, lime, lead, gypsum, iron ore, bauxite, gallium, boron, mica, natural gas, potash, platinum, oil, rare earth metals, pig iron, peat, nitrogen, cadmium, arsenic, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphate, sulfur, titanium sponge, silicon, uranium, tellurium, vanadium, tungsten, cobalt, graphite, silver, vermiculite, selenium, rhenium, copper, and gold.
The world needs what Russia exports. Russia does not need McDonalds, Cartier or Mercedes Benz cars. What were we thinking?
Putin put the cherry on the sundae today. He signed an order requiring any country not friendly to Russia to purchase oil and natural gas with Rubles. The West, particularly Germany, can howl in outrage at the top of their lungs, but this hard fact remains–there is no alternative to Russia’s oil and gas for at least a year. If you think that Germany can forgo 40% of its gas and oil imports for a year and still remain a viable economy, you are hopelessly ignorant.