Ukrane - Paradox is served.

A story in a binary logic aimed at taking sides with no nuances.

Paradox is served: it seems that at the finnish-russian border ten millions euro of gas are burned each day, while in Europe, where the Russian gas comes with the dropper, we are waiting for a tough autumn, with nationwide rationing and worrying outlooks  for industrial system.

The gas that uselessly burns in the outskirts of St. Petersburg represents in some extent a metaphor of the inanity of the European foreign policy.

After six months of war between Russia and Ukraine, of increasingly hard and wide sanctions against Moscow, the situation on the ground sees Donbass in the hands of Russians for 80%, the Azov see converted in a Russian lake, Kherson and Kharkiv seriously endangered, not to speak of the nuclear plant of Zaporizhia. Meanwhile, one can estimate that, with the blockage of the import-export trade with Russia, the European industrial system has lost more than 70 billions euro (besides gas).   

The support of USA, UK and EU to the Ukrainian government of ubiquitous president Zelenski has been massive and backed by a pounding and sometimes sluggish propaganda against Russia. It is very difficult to find any data different from those referring to the Russian brutalities. Just as for the black-red manifesto of PD campaign for the Italian elections in September, the aim is to convince the western public opinions to read the whole event in binary mode: on one side the always-good Ukrainians, on the other the always-bad Russians. 

It is a pity that politics is quite different; first of all politics means to have skills to know how to reconcile opposite interests and to achieve a decent compromise for all those involved. The various interests intersect each other within Europe too; for examples, Netherlands, unwilling to put a price cap to the gas (the gas stock market is in Amsterdam!) and Germany in a deeply difficult situation, with an almost reset commercial surplus  and a mortal threat to the notoriously energy-hungry big industry.

In this regard, it makes you wonder if this “by proxy war”, led by the United States against Russia and its plan for a new global order, is not fostered also to weaken Germany on the world economic scene and, doing so, the EU too, ever since targeted. In the years before pandemics, the “German danger” was evident, when Germany was the third big economic power in the world, with a surplus of billions dollars in the commercial balance.  The Donbass conflict, kept duly burning, has revealed its utility to put back the EU, expanded fiendishly toward east, without any changes in the community regulations. 

US hoped this direction and Brussels elites were ready to approve, so connected to the global finance and very little interested to develop a real European policy as are (aside for the folkloric Ursula von der Leyen, who often dresses herself with Ukrainian flag).

I wonder why the European public opinions do not perceive this “game”.

How can be argued that gas carriers will substitute the Russian gas? Have we an idea of costs to extract natural gas, to liquefy it and to bring it through the seas? As long as we decide to use this commodity, the Russian gas has not competitors: it is cheap and we can dispose of huge amount of it, rapidly and safely. Someone says that our stocks reach up to 80% of our capabilities, but nobody says that those 80% could sustain the industrial system for two, three months at most.

Who can truly believe that Ukraine could win back Donbass and Crimea? Who could believe that Ukraine could defeat Russia alone, without a direct intervention of NATO, with the tragic consequences we can imagine? We do not know the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed in action, neither that of refugees and displaced persons in the country. It consists of millions of poor people; the infrastructural net (railways, airports, roads etc.) is widely jeopardized; the Ukrainian public debt in few months attained more than 100% of GDP – pre-war statistics says that it was already low, only a third of Russian one. How long could US, EU and UK finance non-repayable grants to Ukraine?

To sum up:

1. – Putin’s strategy is clear: to strangle slowly Ukraine, without direct aggressions to the main cities outside Donbass, waiting that time and weather act;

2. – Biden’s strategy is clear: to drain Russian resources through a long conflict, without a direct participation of American soldiers (Afghanistan lesson was apprehended) and in the meantime to weaken Europe, euro – now steadily under the dollar quotation – and first of all the industrial and commercial power of Germany, preparing the confrontation with China;

3. – Europe strategy … not received. We have until now only babblings, an acritical submission to Washington judgments, a full mandate to NATO as to foreign policy.

Nevertheless, we could have the chance of a diplomatic action, which were more effective. Let us observe what Erdohan, a great democrat who rules a powerful NATO country, has done. Of course, we are late. The Ukrainian implosion on the winter threshold is increasingly possible. Anyway, we still have time to organize a general conference about security and cooperation in Europe (the model is the CSCE of the ‘70ies and ‘80ties), aimed to face all the political and strategical imbalances in our continent and to reach a falling point, which, without pipes and drums, could be a satisfying, common point of departure toward a peaceful future.

Claudio Salone

Professor of ancient literatures, Rome -