Russia’s hope was to establish long-standing ties with the EU and make sure the strategic security on its western borders would be ensured through economic cooperation, not military might. However, Washington DC had other plans and the compliant elites in Brussels followed suit. Writes Drago Bosnic
For years, the political West has been accusing Russia of so-called “weaponization” of its natural resources, particularly gas and oil. Moscow is being blamed for using these essential resources to supposedly “blackmail” the European Union, while Brussels, partly pushed by US imperialist belligerence, partly by its own (neo)colonialist ambition, kept creeping up to Russia’s geopolitical backyard, creating ever-escalating tensions with the Eurasian giant. Moscow would never allow the repeat of the Nazi German invasion which took tens of millions of Russian lives, in addition to the unprecedented devastation left in its wake. To make matters worse, “Barbarossa” was yet another on the long list of attempts by the political West to destroy Russia. For over a thousand years, many in Europe have tried to neutralize the Eurasian giant. Russia prevailed each and every time, but it had to do it with the force of arms.
However, in recent decades, Moscow has been trying hard to establish mutually beneficial cooperation with the political West, especially its European portion. This included making long-term deals with the EU, particularly those concerning the supply of essential commodities such as natural gas, oil, food and other raw materials which were helping fuel the growth of entire industries in Europe and elsewhere. Russia’s hope was to establish long-standing ties with the EU and make sure the strategic security on its western borders would be ensured through economic cooperation, not military might. However, Washington DC had other plans and the compliant elites in Brussels followed suit, making sure NATO military infrastructure (especially the strategically impactful US military facilities) kept expanding eastwards, getting ever closer to Russia’s heartland.
Even in this situation, Moscow tried de-escalating. Although it still kept working on ways to counter this crawling encroachment militarily, especially through the development and fielding of strategically unrivaled capabilities, Russia was hopeful that “cooler heads” would eventually prevail in Brussels and other major EU capitals, particularly Paris and Berlin. This hope still somewhat held on even after the disastrous 2014 Maidan coup which brought the Neo-Nazi junta to power in Kiev. For nearly a decade, Moscow kept trying to bring the political West to its senses. Unfortunately, to no avail, since this approach was seen as a weakness in Washington DC and Brussels. On February 24, Russia decided to put a stop to it all.
Now, after months of a failed economic siege of the Eurasian giant, especially after the sanctions boomerang started ravaging Western economies, the political West is trying to play a rather comical blame game, accusing Moscow of “weaponizing” its own natural resources. Faced with the prospect of a disastrous winter, the EU is now caught between its suicidal subservience to Washington DC and the need to simply survive. While the US keeps importing Russian commodities (at a volume of approximately $1 billion per month), it is forcing Brussels to effectively enforce a self-imposed embargo which is causing untold damage to the EU’s already dwindling production sector, causing a cascading effect of economic devastation on other seemingly unrelated industries.
Instead of trying to make a deal with Moscow, Brussels joined the economic war on Russia, prompting the Eurasian giant to respond. Now, when natural gas prices are upwards of 400% higher than just a year ago, EU powers, particularly Germany, are faced with the prospect of a near-complete industrial shutdown. And the burning issue isn’t only coming from soaring natural gas prices, but also the shortages. For months, high prices were bleeding the EU economies dry of cash, but after the Nord Stream stopped pumping natural gas altogether, the issue is exponentially worse, as entire industries are at risk of collapsing completely.
In addition to the production sector shutdown, many EU members are faced with soaring energy prices, which is putting a tremendous amount of pressure on households, which are faced with the prospect of not just bankruptcy, but also freezing, as the cold season in the EU is starting with natural gas storage facilities at their lowest level ever. Thus, the pressure on Brussels is both economic and social. With many EU member states’ governments collapsing, the political instability in the troubled bloc is bound to get much worse in the coming months. In addition to natural gas shortages, there is also the problem of soaring food prices, which also might turn into shortages soon, causing even more social and political instability across the EU.
The question is what will the EU do? Should it ask for help from its overlords in Washington DC? And will the US send food, oil, gas and other essential commodities? Does the US even have enough of those for itself? How will the “moral high ground of sticking it to Putin“ help heat homes, feed hundreds of millions of hungry (and angry) citizens and power entire economies and countries? How will the EU governments explain to their voters that all this is “worth doing“ so that the “young, vibrant democracy in Kiev“ can survive? What will Europe look like in 2023 after it goes through a complete political and social unraveling? Will the EU ever become sovereign enough to realize that whatever happens, the US will continue importing essential commodities from Russia while pressuring others not to do so? The coming winter will be a perfect litmus test of sovereignty and an excellent indicator of who will get the privilege of joining the new multipolar world of sovereign nations.
Drago Bosnic, independent geopolitical and military analyst.