Ukraine: The Hegemon's Last Stand
US failures of military strategy, economic sanctions and energy resilience
Cynthia Chung, co-founder of The Rising Tide Foundation, was interviewed on Sputnik Radio’s Faultlines in an episode called “Zelensky Stifles Peace Talks and Sends Troops to Certain Death.” To hear Jamarl Thomas and Manila Chan discuss the truth as if we all know it’s true was a joy. And even better, to move beyond the usual repetitive arguments and into what this means for us and what our strategy should be. Since they’re already considered Kremlin agents by the Ministry of Truth and its minions, they have no reason to pussyfoot around the facts.
Twice Jamarl asks, "Is Ukraine the Hegemon's Last Stand?" matching the title I'd already drafted. He cites that Putin has already surrounded the Donbass and 1700 Ukranian troops have surrendered, although Western media doesn’t use the s- word. Jamarl was appalled, as was I, to find out Zelensky’s known definitively for years that Ukraine would NEVER be a part of NATO but “publicly the door would stay open.” As Jamarl points out, the war could have been over in 12 hours if Zelensky had just stated that and handed over the neo-Nazis who’d killed 14,000 ethnic Russians.
So now that Putin has accomplished his mission to protect the Donbass, what is Zelensky’s strategy? According to Jamarl, it’s to ruthlessly sacrifice Ukranian lives to buy time to figure out how to use the Western weapons pouring in. They could sign a peace deal tomorrow if it was just about Ukraine. The recent bombing in Kiev was reportedly to take out caches of newly arrived weapons.
Co-host Manila quotes Rand Paul that the US needs to borrow from China for the money to give Ukraine, and to beg from Saudi Arabia for the oil to give the EU. The US has neither $40B in excess budget nor the excess oil and gas to replace what’s been cut off from the EU due to US sanctions. However, Russian oil continues to flow to the EU at a higher price while it takes a roundabout route through intermediaries. The ruble has never been higher, while Poland and another country’s oil has been cut off for not paying in rubles.
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) are looking to add more countries and Argentina is top of their list, with Venezuela not far behind. Caitlin Johnstone has posted Study US Foreign Policy By Looking At Oil Reserves in which she writes, “You can learn more about US foreign policy from a casual glance at a list of the world's largest proven oil reserves than you can from a lifetime of consuming mainstream news media.” The years of oil reserves left, at their current rate of production are: 1500+ for Venezuela, 300+ for Libya, 200+ for Iran and 11 for the US—which is better than Europe with none to begin with.
This may explain why the European Parliament has said they won’t allow internal combustion engines starting in 2035. Fortunately all of those NATO tanks run on solar panels and windmills.
Meanwhile the Summit of the Americas is an embarrassment with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua banned and other countries not bothering to attend. At the same time, activists are holding a People’s Summit for Democracy, which is getting better participation.
To Jamarl and Manila, these are not well-executed strategies for global hegemony; these are the hegemon’s last stand, desperate measures that are out of touch with the new multipolar reality.
Cynthia’s husband, Matthew Ehret, has posted Why the Anglo-American Special Relationship Must End, that quotes an address Putin gave on May 26th at the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum:
The Greater Eurasia is a big civilisational project. The main idea is to create a common space for equitable cooperation for regional organisations. The Greater Eurasian Partnership is designed to change the political and economic architecture and guarantee stability and prosperity on the entire continent—naturally, taking account of the diverse development models, cultures and traditions of all nations.
Matt recommends this address given by Putin be read in full. I agree. Here is another excerpt:
Speaking not only about Russia, but also about our partners in the EAEU and the world in general, this task [of isolating Russia] is completely unfeasible. Moreover, those who are trying to fulfil it harm themselves the most. …
These advanced economies have not had such inflation for the past 40 years; unemployment is growing, logistics chains are breaking and global crises are growing in such sensitive areas as food. This is no joke. It is a serious factor affecting the entire system of economic and political relations.
Meanwhile, these sanctions and bans are aimed at constraining and weakening the countries that are pursuing an independent policy, and they are not limited to Russia or even China. I do not doubt for a second that there are many countries that want to and will pursue an independent policy and their number is growing. No world policeman will be able to stop this global process. There will not be enough power for this and the desire to do so will evaporate due to a host of domestic problems in those countries. I hope they will eventually realise that this policy has no prospects whatsoever.
Violating rules and norms in international finances and trade is counterproductive. In simple words, it will only lead to problems for those who are doing it. Theft of foreign assets has never done any good to anyone, primarily those who are engaged in these unseemly deeds. As it has transpired now, neglect for the political and security interests of other countries leads to chaos and economic upheavals with global repercussions.
The US is a castle with a 12,000 mile moat on one side and a 4000 mile moat on the other. There hasn’t been an attack on US soil since 1812. So neighbors pointing intermediate range nuclear missiles at it or breeding racially targeted bioweapons on its borders may not translate. But the years of unipolar impunity are over.
What does this mean for those of us in Europe or what Matt calls the Five Eyes—the crown colonies of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand? What do we want when this house of cards falls? I end this episode by talking about microcurrencies that would give us control over our properties and labor, and imagine a scenario for how we might spend our time when we take back power and responsibility for ourselves and our communities.
To prepare for that opportunity, here’s the description of Build a New Model:
Buckminster Fuller said that to change things, you can’t fight the existing reality. You have to build a new model that makes the old model obsolete. This episode outlines ten universal principles of a new model, including the purpose of government, how to measure its success or failure, what community wealth really is, how to protect and proliferate it, the intergenerational transfer of wealth, and paying your debt to society backwards and forwards. I begin by talking about the spiritual and metaphysical obstacles that keep us from imagining a new model and how to remove them in your own psyche. Based on my book, How to Dismantle an Empire, I end with the three powers that communities require in order to control their own labor: debt, tax & cash.
And this is Putin’s Peace & Petrodollar Pain:
Adds new info on Ukraine from Aaron Mate, the US Peace Council, Scott Ritter and Michael Hudson. Asks whether there were diplomatic options that Russia could have pursued but didn't. Examines Putin's strategy in having $650B of Russian gold in foreign banks subject to seizing and freezing. Was it a trap so he could repudiate the petrodollar? Has the US done him a favor by bankrupting the Russian oligarchs? What does this mean for Germany and France that they'll need to buy oil and gas in the petroruble? And how much trickle-down pain will there be when petroleum-based fertilizer factories shut down? Lastly, could this be a catalyst for taking back local economies and making them productive.