Sanctions against Russia or war against Europe?

Sanctions against Russia or war against Europe?

Most serious observers agree that the sanctions regarding Russian oil decided upon recently by the EU, will not only not hurt Russia’s revenues, but will probably boost them by raising the price of oil. These sanctions will at the same time damage a European Union that is badly needing to import energy and which seems well heading into a process of becoming a “third world zone” inside the so called “first world”.

The EU and its allies in the G7 do not, nor can control the global oil market. The price ceiling and the embargo on Russian oil will probably end up in practice with an increase in the general oil price and cheaper prices for the Russia’s remaining clients. It will represent a gift to Russia, India, China, Iran, Venezuela, all enemies or potential enemies of the West, including Türkiye, which is making fantastic profits by maneuvering economically and geopolitically between Moscow and Washington. Simultaneously, Washington is now obliged to turn a blind eye to the abhorrent Saudi regime because it does not dare to alienate Riyadh in what is developing into an energy war provoked (or at least intensified) by the sanctions.

Already, a few days after the imposition of the new measures against Russia, Bloomberg, in a first account of their results, points out that contracts for ESPO (standard for Russian crude) are well above $ 60 a barrel, while it has been shown that Russia has both the ability to transport its oil by ships and to insure the transported oil. The shipowners will simply make more money, as one of them, the Greek Nikos Vernikos, has predicted, speaking to the French Libération. Bloomberg is also concerned that possible Russian countermeasures will include the imposition of a minimum selling price for Russian oil and an obligation to pay in rubles.

The Economist goes even further. In its last issue it points out that all the sanctions against Russia will lead to a deterioration of the living and heating conditions in 19 EU countries it is studying, even provoking 75.000 deaths more than the average. Those states will have to pay 140 billion Euros to be able to help alleviate the lowering of the living standards.

If we were at the beginning of the sanctions war against Russia we could claim that this policy is due to a miscalculation and attribute it to some kind of “stupidity” of the EU.

Such “stupidity” certainly exists. It is determined throughout the West by the deep-rooted and gratifying belief of the western ruling classes and, in particular, of their political, media and intellectual servants that, after 1989-91, their destiny is to rule the world. Not for 1,000 years, as was Adolph Hitler’s dream, but indefinitely, hence the “End of History”, as Fukuyama predicted in his famous but law intellectual quality essay.

The deeply totalitarian mode of operation of the EU – in particular of the Commission – and the gradual occupation, throughout the Western world, of all important posts by direct employees of Finance Capital, often “veterans” of Goldman Sachs, of NATO and agents of influence of the USA, all of them with absolutely no contact with the peoples and the nations they are supposed to represent, has also contributed to this “stupidity”. Inadvertently, the transformation of the western media into simple propaganda tools has also contributed to such phenomena, as the censors themselves find it more pleasant to read their own propaganda stories than the extremely rare critical comments published in western media, thus depriving themselves of the necessary correction feedback. All that has happened before in the USSR, and contributed to its final demise.

But, having said all that, we must not conclude that Western decision makers are more stupid than they really are. Now they have ample proof that sanctions against Russia do not work against Moscow, but they often do against European states. We can understand that they are reticent to lift them, but it is not so easy to understand why they impose new ones.

Behind the war against Russia, a war against Europe?

There is a possible explanation. The war that NATO and the “collective West” has waged against Russia by means of sanctions, looting of Russian state and private property, arming Zelensky with more and more sophisticated weapons, demonizing Russia and Russians etc., is not only intended to weaken and, if possible, dismantle Russia as a great power. It also aims to subjugate Europe forever to the United States. And one way to do it is to destroy once and for all the possibility of close relations between Europe and Russia (and also Europe’s relations with China and the “South” of the globe).

If this is the aim, then it makes sense to impose sanctions on Russian oil, because it is much easier to impose than to lift such sanctions. Thus and for an indefinite period, the resumption of any energy co-operation between Europe and Russia will become much more difficult than it is now.

If this is the aim, it made sense to blow up the two NordStream pipelines. If Germany decides tomorrow to change its policy and resume imports of Russian gas, it will be objectively more difficult to do it if the two pipelines do not work. The blowing up of the pipelines was inconceivable before it happened. Now it has become also in the future and that means there will be always a threat, even if the pipelines resume work.

Moreover, if you aim is to destroy the very foundations of any future resuming of European – Russian relations, you need to do all that now, to exploit the present circumstances as much as possible, because you are afraid that Germany, France or Italy may “crack”, as they are already facing a serious economic and social crisis, intensified by NATO’s sanctions war against Russia.

The objective result of the sanctions for Europe

Even if this is not one of the central aims of the sanctions policy, imposed by Washington, London and the lobby of the “New Europe” and a Commission acting as a NATO lobby, the subjugation of Europe to the US in all major policy fields is the practical result of the policy followed.

Europe is now obliged to import US LNG, which is four times more expensive than the Russian pipeline-transported gas (and emits four times more greenhouse gases). Europe, threatened by dramatic energy shortages, is more dependent than ever from the US for heating its people and running its industry. Its industries and employment positions are emigrating to the US and other destinations (some people are even speaking of the de-industrialization of Germany). The foreign and military policy of the European states depends more on the US than at any other point since 1991, and maybe after 1945. Germans are even obliged to humiliate themselves by pretending for example they don’t know who blew up the German-Russian Nord Stream pipeline or by tolerating Zelenski (better those who are behind him) insulting them.

European states are rearming themselves by buying US, not European, arms. They are increasing their share of the totality of NATO’s military budgets, to the relative benefit of the US.  They are adopting fanatical, sometimes purely racist, anti-Russian propaganda and ideology, revising even the history of the liberation of Europe from Nazism and Fascism, thus making extremely difficult any change of policy in the future.

Instead of emitting a project for a new democratic, social, peaceful and ecological vision for the whole world, based on the considerable accomplishments of Europe in its history, the Continent is becoming rapidly a miserable vassal of the United States, succumbing to the application of a “regime change” strategy against a major and nuclear power like Russia (and China tomorrow?), which cannot but fail but which is increasing the chances of a titanic war between the “collective West” and the rest of humanity, potentially leading to its demise. If this happens it will be a quite unexpected way to confirm after all the “End of History” thesis, but we won’t be here to comment on it.

Was Charles de Gaulle “Putin’s agent”?

We claimed that good relations with Russia (and we can add China and the South) is a prerequisite for European autonomy and independence from the US, and that such autonomy is a prerequisite for Europe playing the important role this continent is entitled to play, as we are entering the most dangerous and decisive crisis (economic, ecological, civilisational, geopolitical) of the whole history of the human race.

It is worth remembering that nearly all European politicians of the 20th century remembered positively by the collective memory of European nations and peoples believed the same: Charles de Gaulle, Willy Brandt, Olaf Palme, Aldo Moro and Andreas Papandreou, to name a few.

Charles de Gaulle unequivocally condemned the Vietnam war, withdrew from NATO’s military wing and launched the slogan of a “Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals”. Schröder, Chirac and de Villepin allied with Moscow in 2003, trying to stop the folly of the Neocon wars in the Middle East. Even Obama himself allied with Putin in 2013 to stop, at the last moment, the neocon project of a US invasion of Syria, similar to the invasion of Iraq, following the chemical arms provocation in Syria. John F. Kennedy himself was ready to follow a very audacious policy towards Moscow, after the Cuban missile crisis, and this was probably one of the main reasons he was assassinated by sectors of the US “deep state” and the “Party of War” in Washington. It is this same “party of the War”, a sort of “Black International”, which is pressing now for more and more arms to Ukraine, is refusing any compromise and wants a total war with Russia.

If we avoided the nuclear end of humanity during the 20th century, it was because millions of people were mobilized against imperialist neo-colonial wars, like the ones in Vietnam, Algeria or Palestine, and against the nuclear arms race. They were often led by those western leftist forces which believed the fundamental interests of western workers and the popular classes in general were completely opposed to the forces of western imperialism driving the Cold War, and were coinciding with the interests of the nations of the South against Imperialism, not with western Imperialism against the South.

The present disastrous situation of the Left in the West has much to do with the fact that the majority of its leaders and parties, even some organizations which claim to be “revolutionary Marxist” (!!!), have allied with NATO’s imperialism, even while working people in the West pay dearly for an American war against Russia, which, by the way, cannot help but destroy Ukraine and Ukrainians.  

The “deep” American strategy

As we said before, the sanctions policy is not “stupid”. It corresponds to the basic strategic choices made by the United States when the USSR was dissolved. Those choices are well reflected in the first post-Cold War US strategic documents like the Wolfowitz and the Jeremia reports, and they are also developed in the Project for a new American Century.

They put as the main aim of the US post-Cold War Strategy to deter the emergence of any rival able to compete with the US, thus guaranteeing an “American (and Jewish) 21st Century”.

In order to accomplish that, Washington must deter any coalition of two second-class great powers, like for example Russia and Europe, or Russia and China. But the US policy has rather already pushed Russia and China to a strategic rapprochement. If a rapprochement between Europe and Russia were to take place at some point in the future, it would be a disaster for the American hegemonic claims.

This seems to be one of the strategic necessities that are driving US policy in Ukraine. And they are in a hurry to take advantage of the Ukrainian situation, because they do not have confidence that the Europeans will not “break” along the way. That is why they were furious even with Macron’s so timid and future-oriented openings to Moscow. They have to destroy what they can between Europe and Russia, as definitively as they can, and do it now. This, we think, is the deepest interpretation of why they continue furiously to adopt and press the EU to adopt – through their friends there – anti-Russian sanctions that do not hit Russia, don’t help Ukraine, but hit Europe.

The experience of the two World Wars and the Cold War

There is nothing original in all this. I recently read again Leon Trotsky’s pamphlet “Europe and America”, written a century ago, when the writer was head of the Red Army. By reading it you get the impression that nothing has changed fundamentally in the US strategy since the proclamation of the Monroe doctrine. Bearing in mind what some modern-day “Trotskyites” are saying, it is quite funny to read how Trotsky himself accused Washington, barricaded behind two oceans, of transforming human rights into its “profession”, using them as a pretext for its imperialist interventions.

The United States intervened at the end of the Great War to prevent the emergence of a victorious European power (Germany at that time). They landed in Normandy at the end of the last war, only to prevent a European power (Soviet Russia at that time) from emerging dominant in Europe. Before the war was to end, the Americans rased to the earth the main German industrial cities – without any obvious military purpose – in order to prevent a German workers’ socialist revolution by destroying physically the bulk of the working class.

The United States created NATO in order not only to keep Russians out of Europe, but also Americans in and Germans down, according to the famous formula of Lord Ismay. They intervened directly against the Arabs and Muslims after 2001, but the real indirect opponents were still Europe, Russia, China and Japan, which – except for Russia – depended on the Middle East for their energy. The invasion of Iraq and the whole Middle Eastern war campaign of the Neocons was in a way the strategic equivalent of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, intended to terrorize all humanity and demonstrate in a practical way the omnipotence of the American superpower after the demise of USSR. If they had succeeded they would have made 80% of the road to an indisputable global dictatorship. But they failed.

We owe something, by the way, to the rather limited intellectual capacities of Donald Rumsfeld, which made him speak of the new Europe against the Old one before the Iraqi invasion, confirming inadvertently the real strategic intentions of the US concerning Europe.

One reason Americans are intervening in Ukraine the way they do it since 2014, without taking care of the disastrous consequences of their intervention for Ukraine itself, is because they want to weaken both Russia and Europe – as for Ukrainians are a very convenient cannon fodder. Washington is waging its own war for domination over Europe and Eurasia with the blood of former Soviet citizens, and at the expense of its European “allies”.

François Mitterrand was not anti-American at all; in 1966 he even criticized de Gaulle for taking France out of NATO’s military wing. Shortly before his death, he confessed to a biographer:

“France is in a permanent war with America. But the French don’t know it.”

The betrayal of the elites

They don’t know it, because the European “elites” don’t tell it to them. These “elites” have long ago betrayed, with few exceptions, their peoples and nations, the European idea and the idea of the welfare state. They accept even the gradual drift of Europe to the Third World, they sacrifice the future of the continent by succumbing to their narrow capitalist class interests, as they perceive them, believing solidarity with the US is the ultimate guarantee of western European capitalism. This “class interest” as they understand it keeps them hooked to the “collective West”, sprinkled with a so-called “democratic ideology” that is increasingly fraying at the edges and has less and less to do with what the citizens of Western states (and US protectorates around the globe) experience and with the even more “totalitarian” maneuvers which occur within the Western elites themselves, remaining usually unknown to the general public.

PS. The great theoretician of German Social Democracy, Karl Kautsky, proposed in the past the notion of ‘Ultra-Imperialism’. After the last world war, and even more after 1991, we seem to be approaching this situation.

The emergence of Ultra-Imperialism can be explained by objective economic tendencies, but it is also helped by various “subjective” factors. One of them is the explosion of information technologies, giving the possibility of in-depth extended surveillance and blackmailing of all political, media and state personnel and of deep manipulation of the functioning and consciousness of whole political systems, states and societies. In the long run the whole personnel is totally controlled and the system is changing from oligarchic to totalitarian.

After the elimination of what remained of the legacy of the Russian revolution in the ex-USSR (1989-91), after the attack on the regimes which grew out of the anti-colonial revolutions (interventions in the Middle East against the regimes born out of them since 1991), we are now also deeply into a gigantic global “counter-revolution” phenomenon, threatening to destroy all the civilizational achievements of the Modern Era, even in the “first world”, from the Renaissance onwards.

Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
Journalist, expert in geopolitics (Greece)

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June 2024