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Empire of Debt...and Destruction
Ukrainian forces retreat, along with the press, as the great transfer of power and money continues
Bill Bonner, reckoning today from Dublin, Ireland...
In our 2006 book, ‘Empire of Debt,’ we pointed out that empires are typically ruined by a combination of disastrous financial policies (debt and inflation) along with reckless military adventures. We forecast that America would suffer both scourges. The cost of the latter almost guarantees the former. America’s ‘foreign policy’ establishment – Pentagon, defense industries, Congress, embassies, foreign aid…along with involvement in NATO, IMF, World Bank etc. – costs $1.5 trillion per year.
So, here’s an update.
Even the toady press now suggests that Russia is winning the Russo-Ukrainian war. Despite months of reports on how the Russian military was falling apart, the latest news shows that Ukraine’s “summer offensive” has failed…and now the Russkies are counterattacking. Moon Of Alabama reports:
Western media have finally changed course. They are now admitting that the much promoted Ukrainian counter-offensive has failed. In fact, they acknowledge that it never had a chance to win in the first place.
The Hill, the Washington Post and CNN now agree that the Ukrainian army will never achieve its aims.
In the northeast around Kupyansk the Russians have started their own offensive which has the Ukrainians on the run. Ukraine has ordered the evacuation of the area:
A mandatory evacuation has been ordered for the Ukrainian city of Kupyansk and its surrounding areas, as Russia intensified shelling of Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region and claimed to have captured Ukrainian positions near the city on Thursday.
But Kupyansk is a Russian city and people refuse to leave.
Things are not always what they seem. And sometimes, the real meaning is hidden far below the surface. Like the North Atlantic – on the surface, chilly winds blow…and icebergs endanger big ships… while deeper down, a huge undersea current brings water from the southern seas to warm a whole continent. Empires have their own purposes and destinations, too. From the Abbasid Caliphate to the Zulu Empire, they dominate…and then they die.
You don’t have to be a military genius…or get secret updates from the CIA…to see that the West’s proxy war in the Ukraine is not going as well as expected. The Military/Industrial/Spook complex controls the surface weather reports. And it has a keen interest in seeing things a certain way…not necessarily as they are, but as they would like you to think they were. So, to see what is going on, you have to look beneath the waves.
The mainstream press made it sound as if Putin’s aim was to march across Europe, like the Huns in the 5th century, raping the horses and riding off on the women. If so, he had to be stopped.
And he was. Like the brave Polish knights who beat back the Muslim army of Mehmed IV in 1683, the Ukrainians put on their armor and stopped the Russians at the gates of Kiev. By that reckoning, Putin has clearly failed. His forces are now holed up in the Russian-speaking Eastern provinces of the Ukraine, where people wanted to leave the Ukraine anyway.
But there is no evidence that Putin had any further ambitions than those he openly declared: trying to protect its southwestern flank from further NATO encroachment.
In either case, the Russians – who were said to be such an offensive threat to Western Democracy – are now fighting a defensive war. In deep trenches…protected by mines and artillery…the defenders are hard to dislodge. And from Gettysburg to the Somme, attackers usually suffer huge losses and gain nothing. The ‘summer offensive’ was no exception.
Which leads us to a little question: how come? Military observers must have known that the Ukraine lacked the air support and the artillery to roll over Russian defenses. Why did they let the attack go ahead, knowing it would produce little more than burnout tanks and lifeless bodies?
The same question might be posed about the whole war. How could the US and NATO lose a war in the Ukraine? US GDP is $24 trillion. EU GDP is $18 trillion. Russia’s tiny $1.8 trillion economy is no match.
A clear victory would have sent the Russians running back to their homeland…begging for peace in order to avoid a NATO invasion. Then, beaten and humiliated, Russia would be no further danger.
But there was considerable danger and uncertainty. The Russians might ‘go nuclear.’ There could be chaos...confusion…and maybe a civil war in Russia.
The idealists hesitated. They say they want ‘regime change’ in Russia…but Putin’s most likely successors are more nationalistic, more anti-West than he is. And if the war were meant to protect democracy, it has been a dismal failure. Responsible statecraft:
Kyiv has outlawed opposition parties, arrested opposition leaders, closed opposition newspapers and broadcast media, cracked down on religious freedom, and indicated that presidential elections scheduled for 2024 will not be held if the war is still underway.
“They Wanted War”
The ‘neo-realists’ drew back too. They want to play the game, not upset the game board. Pursuing a winning strategy would be too risky for them. Besides, the US has no plausible interest in bumbling around the Eurasian steppes.
Already, John Mearsheimer sees the war in the Ukraine as a mistake. Rather than giving battle to Russia in the Ukraine…the US should prepare to confront a more worthy opponent in the Far East. A better strategy, he says, would have been to join forces with Russia to oppose the Chinese titan. As it is, the war pushes the Chinese, Russians, Iranians and others, into an alliance against the US…and even provides them a tutorial on current US military hardware and battlefield tactics.
And so, we have our answer; there never was a realistic path to victory, neither for the realists nor the idealists.
In March 2020, Anthony Blinken and Boris Johnson pressured Zelensky not to accept a diplomatic settlement. They wanted war. They provided just enough help to keep the war going, but not enough to end it.
It is an imperial war, after all. As a pretext for transferring more wealth and power to the ‘experts’ and their gun-toting enforcers, it has been a great success for all of them. But its deep purpose is to weaken the empire, not strengthen it.
And so it continues. A beautiful quagmire…